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Gorbash Kazdar
2006-06-02, 04:56 AM
Comrade Gorby: This thread is a resource for getting information about real life weapons and armor. Normally this thread would be in Friendly Banter, but the concept has always been that the information is for RPG players and DMs so they can use it to make their games better.

The original thread (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1119641664 ) was started by Eric the Mad, and included contributions from many posters for both questions and answers. Once that thread hit critical mass, Version II (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1132964821 ) began, followed by Version III (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1140621716 ;start=0), and naturally Version IV. This thread is Version V.

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

With that done, have at, and enjoy yourselves!

The first six posts that follow were copied over from Mk IV.

Hairb
2008-05-15, 09:15 PM
Thanks Mike G, thanks Storm Bringer, thanks Norsesmithy. All very useful answers.

One other question under the spoiler. If you plan on playing my Supermen and Flying Machines campaign, (you know who you are) please don't read it.
Odd one I know, but how many men would it take to crew a destroyer, similar to the Royal Navy's 1927 A-Class destroyers, at bare minimum. I'm talking movement, not crewing any guns, radio or anything like that.
For context, the campaign involves the hijack of two Canadian A-Class destroyers by a group of pirates. I need to know how many pirates, essentially.
Many thanks,
-Hairb

Norsesmithy
2008-05-15, 10:59 PM
Thanks Mike G, thanks Storm Bringer, thanks Norsesmithy. All very useful answers.

One other question under the spoiler. If you plan on playing my Supermen and Flying Machines campaign, (you know who you are) please don't read it.
Odd one I know, but how many men would it take to crew a destroyer, similar to the Royal Navy's 1927 A-Class destroyers, at bare minimum. I'm talking movement, not crewing any guns, radio or anything like that.
For context, the campaign involves the hijack of two Canadian A-Class destroyers by a group of pirates. I need to know how many pirates, essentially.
Many thanks,
-Hairb

Judging by Wikipedia's description of her plant, I would want a bare minimum of 14 men, at all times, crewing her boilers and turbines. And that is hard work, so figure 6 hour shifts, not eight. Of course, if you only want a couple of knots steam, you only need to crew one boiler, not all three, which would be doable with 4 men.

Then you need a couple of lookouts, a helmsman, a navigator, and a couple of runners to relay messages between the groups of pirates in different areas of the ship. on a short hop, you can have them run 12 or even 24 hour shifts, but if you intend to steam for more than a week, you need to reduce them to 8 hour shifts.

And you always need a cook, or no one will be happy, figure 12 hour shift for him and he will be the busiest man aboard.

So I say between 20 and 50 men per vessel.

Dervag
2008-05-16, 07:01 PM
What was military radio equipment like during WWI, in terms of range, portability etc?A military wireless (they hadn't got round to calling it a radio) of the Great War was a building with a large antenna sticking out and a big electric generator. Capital ships could carry them. Buildings could carry them. Army headquarters could carry them, with the necessary equipment for the wireless tent broken up into multiple wagons or trucks. There was no such thing as a man-portable, or even land vehicle-portable military radio receiver to the best of my knowledge. There was certainly no such thing as a portable transmitter.

Hence the reliance on runners and field telephony, hence the chaos that resulted when you tried to launch an offensive. The infantry couldn't talk to their own HQs and artillery, so they couldn't coordinate, which meant that any scheme of central military direction broke down almost immediately. You couldn't go tell the corps commander that he needed to get the regiment on your left to move up before you were outflanked. You couldn't tell the battery of 60-pounder heavy artillery five miles behind the lines that their shells were falling short... on your head. You couldn't tell the big friendly tank 100 yards away that you needed help with a machine gun nest, because anyone fool enough to run close to a tank would be cut down by the hail of bullets being fired at it by every enemy soldier in range.

Obviously, this was less of a problem in open warfare where runners were less likely to get killed and where the field commander could see what was going on because he didn't have to live in a dugout. And it was less of a problem in defensive warfare where the runners had the advantage of communications trenches and the field telephone lines were somewhat less likely to be cut by enemy fire.
____________________________________

Oh, and the A-class weren't commissioned until 1931.

Swordguy
2008-05-16, 08:29 PM
Now, I admit that I have next to no experience fighting with a shield, but it still seems to me like its easy enough -if you stand in a proper stance to begin with that is, to simply close your legs together and whack the offender on the head, then again, I would likedly try to parry the initial strike to my head with a strike to wrist of the attacker.

...but as I said, I have next to no experience with shields and i'm simply not used to thinking in those lines, my line of thought when it comes to combat is that of parrying and killing your opponent with the same stroke, not blocking a feint.

With feints though: Are your feints intented to score a "kill" also?

edit:
I forgot to add that where I train the legs *are* a legal targetting zone, but that most attacks towards it gets punished with a blow to the shoulders, arms or head.

Mike_G's already covered the majority of this topic, but I do want to throw something else out there.

Having studied MS I.33 (sword & buckler) at some length, I can say that the system explicitly discourages attacks to the leg. Why? Normally the idea when fighting with a sword and shield is to strike low and cover your head with your shield from your opponent's counterstroke. In I.33, the buckler and sword are generally moved as one unit, simultaneously blocking an opponent's strike and striking in the opposite line with the wrists almost "cuffed" together. In essence, you're using a single weapon that both defends and attacks. That's the trick - with a SINGLE weapon, you do not generally attack to the legs.

You ascertain, correctly, that to strike to the legs from a reasonable distance (that is, not so close that neither of you has to step to strike the other) you are forced to extend forward slightly and expose your head to a counterstrike. You also realize that the best defense against a leg attack is to step back with the leading leg and to bring your weapon around at the exposed head of the enemy. When using a single weapon, if you attack the enemy's leg, he will simply step back with the lead leg and kill you, because you've no way to defend the counterattack.

It is only when paired with a secondary weapon (read: shield) that allows you to defend the head does a strike to the leg become feasible and survivable. It's what allows you to follow Mike_G's information about feinting in the first place. That's what makes fighting with a shield so different that fighting with a single weapon. Fighting with shields is actually VERY mobile and fast, not because two guys are humping each other while they try to "wrap" blows around each other, but because each is striking at either the head or exposed leg, which must be defended and maneuvered to avoid a fight-ending stroke. Fights between individual shield fighters tend to drift in a circle around the shield side of whomever doesn't have the initiative - this mobility is anathema to the stereotypical 5-foot 10, 300lb SCAdian.

Norsesmithy
2008-05-16, 09:29 PM
Oh, and the A-class weren't commissioned until 1931.

But they were ordered in 1927, and the two the Canadian ships were launched in 1930.

Dervag
2008-05-17, 01:49 AM
I may have misunderstood the Wiki, or it may be wrong. Scratch my comment about the destroyers.

Not the radios though.

If it's relevant, the A-class destroyers would have a radio, and a pretty good one, too. Long reach and all. However, no walkie-talkies or other man-portable radio sets like them. Those were not invented until World War II- amusingly, by a Canadian company.

Dervag
2008-05-19, 02:25 PM
Quiz question, in hopes of starting the new thread with a bang:

Who do you think has been the most innovative culture in terms of military tactics and strategy? Note that this includes recent times as well as medieval and ancient.

Matthew
2008-05-19, 02:36 PM
Damn you, Dervag!

Contendors: Romans, Mongols, Chinese.

Gah, this question is unanswerable... good topic for debate, though.

Storm Bringer
2008-05-19, 02:37 PM
Quiz question, in hopes of starting the new thread with a bang:

Who do you think has been the most innovative culture in terms of military tactics and strategy? Note that this includes recent times as well as medieval and ancient.

er......that's a real bugger.

All in all, I'd have to vote the assorted politcal entites thoughout history known China, who invented among other things, modern gurellia warfare, Gunpowder, Trebuchets, a form of feudalism, several forms of martial arts, the oldest known treatise on strategy (and one of the best).

I'm sure thiers more, and indeed I'm sure at least one of those i've listed will turn out to have been invented somewhere else, but you get the idea.



failing that, the European Peninsular.

edit:


Romans, Mongols, Chinese.

I'd argue against the romans as innovators. most of the tactics and tech they used was already in existance when they found it. they were, however, great adaptors,able to take ideas form several different scorces and mix them successfully (for example: Iberian short sword+ celtic chainmail+ Hellenic close order drill= Roman Legionnare).


mongols...... hmm. Not sure. we know thier way of war was common before the mongel conquests (for example, the parthians that contested roman eastern boarder fought in a simmilar manner). To be honest, the only thing i can think they invented was thier tactical subdevisions, which, while definatly invented (as in created indepenantly, without outside assistance), are not exactly orginal (never created before) I may be overlooking something, as i admit my knowledge of the mongols is at the 'they took over a HUDGE area in like no time, then lost most of it fairly quickly' level.

edit edit: S***. I've just realised that I've answered the wrong question, or more accuratly, a boarder question. I thought he asked about Innovation in tactics and technology.

Thiel
2008-05-19, 03:30 PM
My knowledge of general military history is somewhat patchy, but I'm still confident that Napoleonic France counts. They did after all force everybody else to fight like they did and that has to count for something.

Storm Bringer
2008-05-19, 03:43 PM
My knowledge of general military history is somewhat patchy, but I'm still confident that Napoleonic France counts. They did after all force everybody else to fight like they did and that has to count for something.

to my knowledge, Napoleonic french tactics tended to be both simple and at times Archaic. Thier favoured assault formation, the Column, was a throwback to older styles and more of less forced on the revolutionary french commanders by the lower quality troops they had to work with. Their famed mobility was a side effect of their lack of an workable logistic system as much as it as the result of diberate planning, and was in common with older armies from the 30 years war in the mid 17th century.

Napoleon's tactics were masterfully executed, but were not to my knowledge innovative . About the only thing i can pin to him is the formation of Corps, though i admit that was a significant advance.

edit: futher reshreach also indicates that the french were also responable for considerable advances in the handeling of artillery, so chalk that one up as well.

Thiel
2008-05-19, 04:45 PM
About the only thing i can pin to him is the formation of Corps, though i admit that was a significant advance.

I realize now that it wasn't at all apparent from my original post, but I was actually referring to the corps system.

Stupid second language.

Anyway, they were, as far as I know, also one of the first armies to introduce dedicated signal troops.

Dervag
2008-05-19, 05:38 PM
All in all, I'd have to vote the assorted politcal entites thoughout history known China, who invented among other things, modern gurellia warfare, Gunpowder, Trebuchets, a form of feudalism, several forms of martial arts, the oldest known treatise on strategy (and one of the best).You can make a good case for it. On the other hand, the Chinese had a nasty habit of inventing weapons and not making much out of them. Hence their weakness in military technology as of the Industrial Age, and arguably into the present: Their military tech is poor because their economy was poor until recently, and their economy was poor because they were the sick old man of Asia, and they were the sick old man of Asia in large part because conquerors could use them for punching bags... because their military tech was poor.


failing that, the European Peninsular.I would not identify the European peninsular as a single culture.


edit edit: S***. I've just realised that I've answered the wrong question, or more accuratly, a boarder question. I thought he asked about Innovation in tactics and technology.Actually, that's the question I should have asked, so I revise my question to include military technology.


My knowledge of general military history is somewhat patchy, but I'm still confident that Napoleonic France counts. They did after all force everybody else to fight like they did and that has to count for something.Not quite. The tactical regimen that dominated the 19th century wasn't that of revolutionary France. It was mostly created by post-revolutionary France, and a lot of it was simply a logical descent from ideas that were around before the French Revolution. Firing lines of infantry, for instance.

Napoleon went for swift-moving mass, and raw mass was not the prevailing tactic for most of Europe.

I mean, we could equally well argue that the 18th-century British were great innovators because they revolutionized naval tactics and strategy. Navies count too, y'know.
______________________________

The Chinese had a good signal system hundreds if not thousands of years before Napoleon, as did the Mongols, and the British of the same era used alphabetic flag signalling at sea just as effectively as the French used their signal corps on land.

Crow
2008-05-19, 06:04 PM
I'm going to say the United States. With the development of nuclear weapons, the U.S. dropped the curtain on the long-line of Adventurer-Conquerers (the last being Adolf Hitler).

Even naval and air power doctrine changed to account for nuclear weapons. Warfare will never be the same. You will never again see conquests the likes of what the Roman Empire, Napoleon, Hitler, or Alexander accomplished.

Raum
2008-05-19, 06:10 PM
Who do you think has been the most innovative culture in terms of military tactics and strategy? Note that this includes recent times as well as medieval and ancient.For strategy I nominate Greece. Throughout their history they...
- were the first western country I'm aware of to use well disciplined forces. (The phalanx)
- have been one of the first to use a professional citizen army. (Sparta)
- pioneered the idea of combined arms. (Philip of Macedonia)
- created modern logistics science. (Alexander the Great)

Tactics is a bit more difficult. The principles haven't changed all that much. It's the technology and tools available to implement tactics that are constantly changing.

Dervag
2008-05-19, 06:17 PM
I'm going to say the United States. With the development of nuclear weapons, the U.S. dropped the curtain on the long-line of Adventurer-Conquerers (the last being Adolf Hitler).

Even naval and air power doctrine changed to account for nuclear weapons. Warfare will never be the same. You will never again see conquests the likes of what the Roman Empire, Napoleon, Hitler, or Alexander accomplished.Well... we hope. I'm reluctant to say definitively.

That said, the atomic bomb was a technological innovation, yes, but not one unenvisioned by other nations, and it was one thing. It's changed the rules enormously, but so have a lot of other weapons. Atomic weaponry only changes the rules between the nations willing to make the investment to build it and in the situations where they're plausibly going to use it, after all.

subzerosako
2008-05-19, 10:16 PM
I'ma go with Germany, circa 1930. They invented modern warfare with the Blitzkrieg. And would have had an atom bomb before us, but the allies did somethings, blew some stuff up, and stole a scientist.

Raum
2008-05-19, 10:48 PM
A blitzkrieg is just a cavalry attack launched past fortifications. The Mongols did it earlier and better.

Fhaolan
2008-05-19, 11:14 PM
I'm going to have to go against the apparent flow of the forum, and nominate the Oldowan culture.

And unusually, I'm not being facetious, although I do admit to being a bit strange about this. As with everything, itís all a matter of perspective. As far as Iíve been able to gather, this culture may not have been the first to use manufactured weapons, but it was the first to gather together *multiple species* (including Homo hablis, Australopithecus gahri, and even Paranthropus boisei), and train them in how to produce flint tools, creating in effect the first military-industrial complex on planet Earth in the middle of paleolithic Ethopia. You could write a sci-fi novel based on this, it seems so strange, and yet it actually appeared to happen.

Hurlbut
2008-05-19, 11:15 PM
A blitzkrieg is just a cavalry attack launched past fortifications. The Mongols did it earlier and better.Right, what Germany did was invent a very good Unit Doctrine manual putting their army years ahead of everyone else. US finally wised up and updated its own manual with very similar concepts mid-war.

Storm Bringer
2008-05-20, 04:12 AM
I would not identify the European peninsular as a single culture.

No, but china can hardly be considered a single culture either, with something like over a hundred minority groups still recognised by the chinese government, no unified language (i mean, mandarin is not the frist language of most of tje chinese, just the offical one), wide varitaion in geo-graphical size (most of what is now china was not part of it for most of history)......and so on. historical china was not much more culturally linked than most of europe was.




You can make a good case for it. On the other hand, the Chinese had a nasty habit of inventing weapons and not making much out of them. Hence their weakness in military technology as of the Industrial Age, and arguably into the present: Their military tech is poor because their economy was poor until recently, and their economy was poor because they were the sick old man of Asia, and they were the sick old man of Asia in large part because conquerors could use them for punching bags... because their military tech was poor.


Oh, indeed, but those are political failings that came about form being a superpower without any practical external threats, and a long standing conservitive theme in thier culture. They were a LONG way ahead of the europeans in the mid-15th century, but choose to rest of thier laruels rather than press thier advantage, and so became ossified into old practices while the europeans, driven by the intense national rivialres, kept on inventing..

if you ever get the chance, read 1421 by Gavin Menzies. While the whole book is most intresting, the frist chapter in particular discribes the state of china at this point in time, and how far ahead of european nations it was.

Thiel
2008-05-20, 05:18 AM
And would have had an atom bomb before us, but the allies did somethings, blew some stuff up, and stole a scientist.

Not so. While it's true that the allies blew up a lot research and production facilities, they actually only managed to blow up one that had anything to do with nuclear research, the heavy water plant in Norway.
As for stealing scientists, I'm fairly certain that all the German scientists involved in the Manhattan project defected. It's one thing to force people to work, but getting them to do research is an entirely different story.
Besides, the German team thought they needed about a ton of plutonium in order to make the bomb work.

Crow
2008-05-20, 01:17 PM
Well... we hope. I'm reluctant to say definitively.

That said, the atomic bomb was a technological innovation, yes, but not one unenvisioned by other nations, and it was one thing. It's changed the rules enormously, but so have a lot of other weapons. Atomic weaponry only changes the rules between the nations willing to make the investment to build it and in the situations where they're plausibly going to use it, after all.

Only time will tell for sure. But in our "Global" culture, it's quite likely that if somebody started steamrolling every nation in their vicinity, somebody (who may possess nuclear weapons) is going to get their toes stepped on. Even if they're on the other side of the world. When the U.N. intervenes in some situation, the rules change dramatically when there is the possibility that the other side has nukes. If it's confirmed...then the kid gloves really go on.

Neon Knight
2008-05-20, 01:37 PM
Inquiry: What are the typical tactics used by helicopter gunships? Attack altitude, distance, movement, etc.? I'm willing to bet that different armaments and different models of helicopter are used in different ways, as well as different armies possessing their own doctrines of of use, so feel free to provide as much information as you feel necessary.

As this question arose from the need to describe a Kamov Ka-50 Black Shark in action, so information relating to this particular model would be helpful. (But I like helicopters in general, so a generic Gunship gameplan would be nice to hear as well, since I end up inserting them into my games so often.

Thiel
2008-05-20, 02:13 PM
Since it's capable of launching the 9K121 Vikhr (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9K121_Vikhr) air to ground missile I'd guess that It's used in much the same way as the Apache.
That means flying around at low altitudes and hiding behind cover only to pop up, shoot your missiles and be gone again before your target has a chance to response.
It should be noted that it's smaller, lighter, faster, has a slightly better power to mass ratio and can carry a bigger payload than the Apache.

Storm Bringer
2008-05-20, 03:55 PM
Inquiry: What are the typical tactics used by helicopter gunships? Attack altitude, distance, movement, etc.? I'm willing to bet that different armaments and different models of helicopter are used in different ways, as well as different armies possessing their own doctrines of of use, so feel free to provide as much information as you feel necessary.

As this question arose from the need to describe a Kamov Ka-50 Black Shark in action, so information relating to this particular model would be helpful. (But I like helicopters in general, so a generic Gunship gameplan would be nice to hear as well, since I end up inserting them into my games so often.

Assuming they are expecting to face heavy weaponry that can track and hurt them (i.e. .50 cal MG's and up), the standard tactics are to fly as low as possible, below treetop if they can, to avoid exposure. standard attack patterns involve a quick pop up (less than 30 seconds) to aquire targeting data, duck back into cover to plan attack and assign targets, then another pop up to fire missles at hard targers.

I'm not sure of thier networking abilty, but some modern choppers can aquire targeting data form external scorces, eg, only one chopper needs to spot for several.


all the above assumes that the Ka-50 is fighting in a conventional warzone agianst foes armed with heavy point defense AA (50 cals, SPAAGs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPAAG), blokes with stinger missiles, etc). If enguaging a foe with nothing heavier than small arms, they can afford to be a lot less paranoid and spend more time in the open, shooting at soft targets.

edit: important note: their is a sublte but significant difference between the Vikhr missle used by the ka-50 and the Hellfire missles used by AH-64 Apache. the hellfire is a Semi-Active Laser Homing system, while the Vikhr is a Laser Beam Riding missle.
What this means is that if an Apache is working with ground forces equipped with suitable laser designators, it can let them guide the missile and pop down as soon as it's fired (the Hellfire looks for flected laser light and homes on that). the ka-50, however, must stay thier, guiding the missle onto the target themselves (the vikhr tracks be 'riding' down a missle between the launching platform and the target).

if you're looking for a nail0-biting tension moment, this is it.

Dervag
2008-05-20, 05:18 PM
No, but china can hardly be considered a single culture either, with something like over a hundred minority groups still recognised by the chinese government, no unified language (i mean, mandarin is not the frist language of most of tje chinese, just the offical one), wide varitaion in geo-graphical size (most of what is now china was not part of it for most of history)......and so on. historical china was not much more culturally linked than most of europe was.Not during some eras, anyway.

That said, even though it wasn't culturally or linguistically uniform, it was generally much more politically unified than Europe. I suppose I'm conflating cultural entities with political entities, but I think it's dishonest to talk about "European" as a militarily innovative culture and put credit for everything that Europeans ever figured out under one roof.


Oh, indeed, but those are political failings that came about form being a superpower without any practical external threats, and a long standing conservitive theme in thier culture. They were a LONG way ahead of the europeans in the mid-15th century, but choose to rest of thier laruels rather than press thier advantage, and so became ossified into old practices while the europeans, driven by the intense national rivialres, kept on inventing..

if you ever get the chance, read 1421 by Gavin Menzies. While the whole book is most intresting, the frist chapter in particular discribes the state of china at this point in time, and how far ahead of european nations it was.I know more or less what happened; my point is that a culture which invents weapons and tactics and then discards them at its own great future expense might not be qualified as 'most innovative.'


Only time will tell for sure. But in our "Global" culture, it's quite likely that if somebody started steamrolling every nation in their vicinity, somebody (who may possess nuclear weapons) is going to get their toes stepped on. Even if they're on the other side of the world. When the U.N. intervenes in some situation, the rules change dramatically when there is the possibility that the other side has nukes. If it's confirmed...then the kid gloves really go on.Thing is, our current global culture is the product of a very specific economic and political order. Lots of oil, a strong single superpower with global reach, et cetera.

A lot of things could happen or will happen that would shake up the current culture. We can't assume that the status quo will persist indefinitely. The current situation is as much the temporary product of a recently resolve conflict as post-Waterloo Europe with its dominant Royal Navy was.

Thiel
2008-05-20, 05:22 PM
if you're looking for a nail0-biting tension moment, this is it.
Very true. I wonder how long it's going to take before someone sticks the targeting laser on top of the rotor, like the radar on the Apache Longbow.

As far as I've been able to find out, the Ka-50 is equipped with excellent targeting systems and it's capable of sharing data in real time with other units, including other helicopters and infantry.

It should also be noted that it's capable of carrying a wide selection of rockets, one of the most interesting ones being the 120mm S-13T Tandem HEAT capable of penetrating 6m of earth and 1m of concrete.

Norsesmithy
2008-05-21, 12:02 AM
edit: important note: their is a sublte but significant difference between the Vikhr missle used by the ka-50 and the Hellfire missles used by AH-64 Apache. the hellfire is a Semi-Active Laser Homing system, while the Vikhr is a Laser Beam Riding missle.
What this means is that if an Apache is working with ground forces equipped with suitable laser designators, it can let them guide the missile and pop down as soon as it's fired (the Hellfire looks for flected laser light and homes on that). the ka-50, however, must stay thier, guiding the missle onto the target themselves (the vikhr tracks be 'riding' down a missle between the launching platform and the target).

if you're looking for a nail0-biting tension moment, this is it.

What really makes this a disadvantage is that this means that while the missile is in flight, the Ka-50 cannot side slip and still expect to hit its target, and side slipping is about the most effective helicopter tactic for avoiding AA gunfire and GAM missiles.

Russian doctrine for helicopter gunship use is very similar to Russian Doctrine for Tank use, they tend to advance in ranks along a long line, each heli a kilometer or so apart, firing at targets as they advance, switching ranks so that once a helicopter is winchester (ie out of missiles) it can return to a supply depot, re-arm, refuel, and get back to the fight in time for it to advance to the first rank again.

If heavy resistance is met, they tend to encircle (or semicircle), gather forces, and do a coordinated push.

They also want to be advancing fast enough that the enemy doesn't get their AA systems on full Alert before they are engaged.

A smart gunner will engage flak and missile tracks before tanks, unless they are supporting friendly ground forces in danger of being over run.

American helicopter doctrine is a little different, but thats another post.

Avilan the Grey
2008-05-21, 12:51 AM
Back to the "inventions that kill people real good" question:

The Swedish army under Gustaf II Adolf (Gustav the Great).

- First standard sizes for muskets (aka one kind of ammo fits all)

- First use of platoon fire (first row on their knees, second bending, third row standing, all emptying their guns at the same time. It's a tactic we nowdays take for granted that everyone used "in them olden days", but he was the first one to come up with it). It worked just as good against Polish and Spanish cavalery as it did against Native Americans 200 years later)

- New and totally revolutionary formations

- Lighter, much more mobile artillery (the European artillery at the time needed up to 20 horses to move one (1) gun. The Swedish artillery could be moved by 2 horses or in a pinch 8 men, which meant that even in a retreat they could salvage their guns. Plus you got a whole new way of repositioning your guns during the battle)

- New revolutionary tactics for the medium and light cavalery (to be honest it was more of a throwback to how it had been used a long time ago: Instead of doing what the Spanish (Holy Roman) units did, which was trot forward, empty their guns, and then retreat, the Swedish light squadrons emptied their guns close to the enemy in the usual 17th century fashion but then attacked with their sables, plowing headfirst into the enemy ranks)

Combine this with radical ideas of strategy and tactics, and suddenly you get why Sweden during the 30 year war was taken seriously by everyone around... (and not only that, we spanked both the Russians and Poles pretty good too)

Avilan the Grey
2008-05-21, 01:00 AM
What really makes this a disadvantage is that this means that while the missile is in flight, the Ka-50 cannot side slip and still expect to hit its target, and side slipping is about the most effective helicopter tactic for avoiding AA gunfire and GAM missiles.

Russian doctrine for helicopter gunship use is very similar to Russian Doctrine for Tank use, they tend to advance in ranks along a long line, each heli a kilometer or so apart, firing at targets as they advance, switching ranks so that once a helicopter is winchester (ie out of missiles) it can return to a supply depot, re-arm, refuel, and get back to the fight in time for it to advance to the first rank again.

If heavy resistance is met, they tend to encircle (or semicircle), gather forces, and do a coordinated push.

They also want to be advancing fast enough that the enemy doesn't get their AA systems on full Alert before they are engaged.

A smart gunner will engage flak and missile tracks before tanks, unless they are supporting friendly ground forces in danger of being over run.

American helicopter doctrine is a little different, but thats another post.

Helicopters look really impressive, but they do have a hard time facing ground opposition (infantry) on their own, as was shown in the Iraq invasion of 2003 where 20 helicopters was forced to a standstill (if there is such a term for flying units) and to retreat; they took heavy damage by Iraqi milita using small arms and RPGs only. One of the very few victories for Iraqi forces.
They are excellent tank busters, but for hunting infantry they really need support from their own ground units.

To be honest though this was probably a mistake by the brass on the American side; they probably assumed that the show of the choppers in force would scare off the Iraqis, and didn't think they would shoot back at them. I am sure they would have sent something else to root out the infantry if they had counted on real opposition.

Dervag
2008-05-21, 01:35 AM
Back to the "inventions that kill people real good" question:

The Swedish army under Gustaf II Adolf (Gustav the Great).

- First standard sizes for muskets (aka one kind of ammo fits all)

- First use of platoon fire

- New and totally revolutionary formations

- Lighter, much more mobile artillery

- New revolutionary tactics for the medium and light cavalery

Combine this with radical ideas of strategy and tactics, and suddenly you get why Sweden during the 30 year war was taken seriously by everyone around... (and not only that, we spanked both the Russians and Poles pretty good too)Of course, a number of the Swedes' best ideas (like the improved musketry) were in large part adapted from the Dutch. Some weren't, though.


Russian doctrine for helicopter gunship use is very similar to Russian Doctrine for Tank use, they tend to advance in ranks along a long line, each heli a kilometer or so apart, firing at targets as they advance, switching ranks so that once a helicopter is winchester (ie out of missiles) it can return to a supply depot, re-arm, refuel, and get back to the fight in time for it to advance to the first rank again.

If heavy resistance is met, they tend to encircle (or semicircle), gather forces, and do a coordinated push.

They also want to be advancing fast enough that the enemy doesn't get their AA systems on full Alert before they are engaged.That tactic could get dangerous if the enemy has distributed AA defenses- if I have Stinger sites scattered widely, a rapid advance of a skirmish line of helicopters could cause a lot of casualties among the helicopters very quickly, no?

Then again, I'm not sure helicopters have a good plan for fighting an enemy with distributed AA defenses.

Avilan the Grey
2008-05-21, 03:15 AM
Of course, a number of the Swedes' best ideas (like the improved musketry) were in large part adapted from the Dutch. Some weren't, though.

That tactic could get dangerous if the enemy has distributed AA defenses- if I have Stinger sites scattered widely, a rapid advance of a skirmish line of helicopters could cause a lot of casualties among the helicopters very quickly, no?

Then again, I'm not sure helicopters have a good plan for fighting an enemy with distributed AA defenses.

Yes, but afaik the Swedes were the first ones to seriously implement it all across their forces.
...More:

- New Pike design, shorter (only 12 feet instead of 18 to whatever) making it easier to move in and out of combat and adapt to the situation.


...And about helicopters: See my post above :)

Neon Knight
2008-05-21, 07:05 AM
Would artillery or SEAD help, assuming you had a pretty good idea where the enemy AA was located?

Subotei
2008-05-21, 08:03 AM
Quiz question, in hopes of starting the new thread with a bang:

Who do you think has been the most innovative culture in terms of military tactics and strategy? Note that this includes recent times as well as medieval and ancient.

Such a good question....

I think, in the recent past, it has to be the British - especially if you include weapon development in the question. Certainly Britian lead the field in naval technology and tactics from the 18th Century until WWII, including developing the first real Battleships and aircraft carriers.

On land Britain developed probably the most iconic weapon of the 20th Century, the tank, and certainly had the most gifted innovators of tactics for their use - Liddell-Hart and Fuller - unfortunately for the world the German military seemed the most receptive to their theories...

The general British strategy of the recent past (roughly speaking: blockade your enemy, seek allies and take action with and/or through allies, amphibious actions to stretch the enemy) has seen off Napoleonic France, Germany in WWI and WWII, and so must be seen as a successful gameplan, though it may not have much appeal to the more military minded.

Further back, its much more difficult to comment. Certainly some cultures, while they may not have been great tactical/strategic innovators, achieved much by applying a disciplined, professional approach to existing methods of warfare - eg as has been said, the Romans (to some extent - though they certainly innovated) and possibly more true of the Mongols.

Storm Bringer
2008-05-21, 09:30 AM
Would artillery or SEAD help, assuming you had a pretty good idea where the enemy AA was located?

depends on AA Type. if faced with static or Vehicle mounted AA systems that use radar guidance (SAM sites and such), then the use of HARM (Homing Anti-Radiation Missile) missiles can seroiously reduce the effectivness of air defenses, as the SAM personnel cannot turn thier radars on to locate the targets, or if they do they come under fire in short order.

However, most of the systems that would deal with Helicopters are not radar guided, but either 'dumb' (like SPAAGs, or plain old .50 cals on AA mounts), or IR seeking (Stingers and equivlent systems), both of which are harder to deal with, for different reasons.

SPAAGs are the more vunable of the set ups, as they are big and easier to spot, plus their range is limited (less than the AT missiles that the choppers use, at any rate). But if it can stay hidden until it's in range, it can screw over choppers royally.

the real buggers, though, are man protable systems. In short, they bloody difficult to deal with. three or four guys can hump a stinger and it's ammo pretty much anywhere they can reach. that portabilty means that the main system can be kept safe and out of reach until needed, then brought into action quickly to deal with the airboune threat, and just as quickly returned to safety.

In an urban setting, one dude on a rooftop spotting with the rest of the team hidden in the building could be a real menace, hard to identfiy before they open up and harder to kill once spotted. In a country setting, then basically any fold in the ground/trench will do.

also, most heavy machine guns can cause serious damage to helicopters, assuming they can be aimed at them. a bog-standard .50 cal HMG, standard issue in the US army, is in theory capable of taking down a chopper. In practise, the tripods aren't built to let the guns elevate enough to shoot at choppers and the gunners are not taught AA gunnery. But mount it on a high swivel, and you've got a threat to choppers.

If you knew that the target for a chopper attack had suitable AA, then dropping arty rounds of the right spot would help a lot, though. Then agian, you can't granntee a position is out of action until you've actually captured it.

Dervag
2008-05-21, 09:34 PM
- New Pike design, shorter (only 12 feet instead of 18 to whatever) making it easier to move in and out of combat and adapt to the situation.First of all, I think that one may be a myth based on some people's observation of the officer's "partisan," a shorter weapon than the standard pike and one used in many armies (but only by officers).

On a related note, it's a stupid thing to do- what good is a short pike? The purpose of having pikes is to allow several ranks of men to stab into the region in front of the formation, presenting a solid, dense wall of points that no horse will enter and that no man will enter lightly. Shortening the pike by six feet means that one or two rows of infantry in the back can't reach the front line of pikes, reducing the density of the pike wall. In addition, the zone of pikes is reduced by six feet out of, say, fifteen.

If an enemy pike block makes it into range of your pike block and you've adopted a shorter pike, you are screwed. Your weapons are still so long (at 12 feet) that you're totally dependent on formation fighting, but it's going to be very difficult for you to fight your way through the six-foot zone in which they can stab you and you can't stab them back.
______________________

To make matters worse, a 12-foot pike isn't much easier to use in battle than an 18-foot pike. The pike is still much longer than you are tall. You still have to march holding it very carefully to avoid stabbing someone next to you, and you still have to fight in a tight formation to have a good chance of survival in melee combat. The shorter pike won't let you increase the spacing between soldiers- if anything, it will force you to pack them tighter, so as to compensate for the reduced number of ranks of soldiers that can put their spearpoints in the area in front of the phalanx.
______________________

Pikes were in use for two thousand years. If a shorter pike were superior to a longer pike, you can bet people would have adopted the shorter pike well before the 1600s. The reason pikes five to six meters long were the rule for two millenia is that making them shorter would make them less effective but making them longer would make them too heavy to carry. It wasn't until guns improved to the point where a bayonet was preferable to a pike because a man with a musket and a decent melee attack was better than a man with no gun and a good melee attack that there was any interest in shortening the weapons.

Avilan the Grey
2008-05-22, 12:55 AM
First of all, I think that one may be a myth based on some people's observation of the officer's "partisan," a shorter weapon than the standard pike and one used in many armies (but only by officers).

On a related note, it's a stupid thing to do- what good is a short pike? The purpose of having pikes is to allow several ranks of men to stab into the region in front of the formation, presenting a solid, dense wall of points that no horse will enter and that no man will enter lightly. Shortening the pike by six feet means that one or two rows of infantry in the back can't reach the front line of pikes, reducing the density of the pike wall. In addition, the zone of pikes is reduced by six feet out of, say, fifteen.

If an enemy pike block makes it into range of your pike block and you've adopted a shorter pike, you are screwed. Your weapons are still so long (at 12 feet) that you're totally dependent on formation fighting, but it's going to be very difficult for you to fight your way through the six-foot zone in which they can stab you and you can't stab them back.
______________________

To make matters worse, a 12-foot pike isn't much easier to use in battle than an 18-foot pike. The pike is still much longer than you are tall. You still have to march holding it very carefully to avoid stabbing someone next to you, and you still have to fight in a tight formation to have a good chance of survival in melee combat. The shorter pike won't let you increase the spacing between soldiers- if anything, it will force you to pack them tighter, so as to compensate for the reduced number of ranks of soldiers that can put their spearpoints in the area in front of the phalanx.
______________________

Pikes were in use for two thousand years. If a shorter pike were superior to a longer pike, you can bet people would have adopted the shorter pike well before the 1600s. The reason pikes five to six meters long were the rule for two millenia is that making them shorter would make them less effective but making them longer would make them too heavy to carry. It wasn't until guns improved to the point where a bayonet was preferable to a pike because a man with a musket and a decent melee attack was better than a man with no gun and a good melee attack that there was any interest in shortening the weapons.


But that is the whole point! With the new formations, only 5 men deep at most, instead of the classic way that everyone else in Europe fought (the big 20x20 man deep squares), there is no need for the longer pikes.
So no, this was not an urban myth, this is adapting the equipment as needed. In practical use this means the pikes was just as long as on the Holy Roman side, since the deep squares meant that the troops in the center would be too covered by their own guys in front to fire a musket, but too far back for even their longer pikes to reach in front of the guys in front. Also, in addition for quicker movement and more efficient use of men (by actually making all men in the formation able to reach and hit the enemy at all times) the thinner formations allowed the pikes to carry guns to be fired when opportunity struck.

As for horses, except for Polish nobles and Cossacks, almost everyone used their mounted units as I described above: Ride up to the enemy, fire your guns in the face of their front line (just outside the reach of pikes) and turn around to reload. No physical attack at all. So the old "pike wall against cavalry" was not really needed anymore; 90% of all pike battle was fought against other guys with pikes. Ironically, the Swedish cavalry was one of the very few that threw away their muskets and guns instead of re-loading them and then crashing into the enemy steel drawn.

The Swedes realized the best way to deal with a wall of men with pikes is not another wall of men with pikes but to just blow them to bits with your muskets.

As for not being easier to maneuver: The lesser weight alone would make the troops quicker to react and move. You are right that the need for skill and discipline is not lessened because the length of the pike is shorter.

Dervag
2008-05-22, 01:28 AM
But that is the whole point! With the new formations, only 5 men deep at most, instead of the classic way that everyone else in Europe fought (the big 20x20 man deep squares), there is no need for the longer pikes.Thing is, five men still occupy ten to fifteen feet of depth unless they're pressed together like sardines in a can. If they have enough room to hold the pikes levelled at an opponent, then that means that the region where pike points stick out in front of the formation isn't very deep. At which point they become very vulnerable to lancers (like the Poles), or other pikemen who didn't just lop eight feet off the end of their weapon (like the Spaniards, Austrians, Germans, French, Danes, and Dutch).

So you've made your pikemen much weaker in melee combat without greatly improving their mobility. With a smart guy like Gustavus Adolphus in charge of the army, I don't think this would have been more than a (brief) failed experiment, sort of like leather guns.


So no, this was not an urban myth, this is adapting the equipment as needed. In practical use this means the pikes was just as long as on the Holy Roman side, since the deep squares meant that the troops in the center would be too covered by their own guys in front to fire a musket, but too far back for even their longer pikes to reach in front of the guys in front.Which is certainly an argument for peeling men off the back rows to extend your frontage, but not an argument for shortening the pike.

The purpose of the long pike is to allow five or six rows of men, possibly as many as eight, to project sharp points forward, making an impassible barrier. Pikes are terror weapons- a determined force can take the casualties to break the line, but individual humans, let alone animals, are almost certainly afraid to try. And the key to making pikes into a terror weapon is creating a large region in front of the enemy army where you can't go without risking impalement.

Shortening the pike shortens that region, because a pikeman with his weapon braced is still holding about the same length behind him on the ground, but is suddenly holding a lot less in front of him.

Extra rows of infantry as found in the Spanish tercio served mainly to provide mass to push the back rows of pikes forward. This was necessary in offensive combat, because for a pike block to assault someone they usually had to brave the enemy's own pikes. Also, the rear ranks could replace casualties due to gunfire suffered in the front ranks.

I know Gustav went for thinner blocks with fewer ranks of men, but I have a hard time believing he shortened the pike. Relying on fire rather than pike shock to break the enemy's line would work well, but if you're using the pikes to ward off enemy melee troops you want them long and not short, regardless of whether your troops fight in big squares or long skinny rectangles.
___________________________


Also, in addition for quicker movement and more efficient use of men (by actually making all men in the formation able to reach and hit the enemy at all times) the thinner formations allowed the pikes to carry guns to be fired when opportunity struck.I think you're mistaking the efficient and smart choice of modifying the formation for the inefficient choice of using shorter pikes. Taking the 'unnecessary' soldiers out of the back of the tercio (the ones more than 20-25 feet from the enemy) is a useful and clever move, but taking the guys in the front and sawing a few meters off their spearhafts is pointless.


As for horses, except for Polish nobles and Cossacks, almost everyone used their mounted units as I described above: Ride up to the enemy, fire your guns in the face of their front line (just outside the reach of pikes) and turn around to reload. No physical attack at all. So the old "pike wall against cavalry" was not really needed anymore; 90% of all pike battle was fought against other guys with pikes. Ironically, the Swedish cavalry was one of the very few that threw away their muskets and guns instead of re-loading them and then crashing into the enemy steel drawn.This is true, but it implies a reverse of the cause and effect that the early age of gunpowder saw. The reason cavalry shifted to using the caracole (the tactic of wheeling and firing pistols you describe) was because they couldn't convince their horses to charge the pike wall. Therefore, the caracole was invented because it was the only way for cavalry to attack a pike hedge.

Weaken the pike hedge and you weaken the defense against melee cavalry. At which point a bold opponent is might well notice what you've done and order his pistol-armed cavalry to draw their sabres and hope for the best. The threat of your infantry unit being overrun by cavalry hadn't disappeared because the enemy had started using the caracole. On the contrary, it was only because your anti-cavalry melee defense was so strong that they were forced to use the less lethal ranged attack.


The Swedes realized the best way to deal with a wall of men with pikes is not another wall of men with pikes but to just blow them to bits with your muskets.However, the Swedes didn't have a musket firing quick enough to stop a pike block entirely on a regular basis. Combined with field artillery, the gunmen might well be able to manage it- but if the pikemen knew they could butcher an enemy's musketeers and gunners if only they could get in range they would be more likely to press the attack.

So even with the new modified Dutch musket tactics, the Swedes still needed pike formations to screen their gunners against cavalry and enemy pikes. And as long as they were going to have such formations, they needed formations with long pikes.


As for not being easier to maneuver: The lesser weight alone would make the troops quicker to react and move. You are right that the need for skill and discipline is not lessened because the length of the pike is shorter.The mass of eight feet of wood is significant, but not enough to explain the whole thing by itself.

TheOOB
2008-05-22, 01:43 AM
I have a quickly question. I've always wanted to try my hand at archery. At how far of a range could a reasonably good archer reliably hit a man sized target with a medieval British style longbow? What about other types of bows.

Shademan
2008-05-22, 02:50 AM
I have a quickly question. I've always wanted to try my hand at archery. At how far of a range could a reasonably good archer reliably hit a man sized target with a medieval British style longbow? What about other types of bows.

well it range is ca. 165 to 228 m if i remember correctly. i am no archer however and can thusly not really answer the question. but hey! i got the range!
... cirka...

Storm Bringer
2008-05-22, 02:54 AM
erm.....no idea. battlefield ranges of 2-300 yards were commonplace, but that would be massed volley firing rather than aimed fire. I don't have a clue what ranges aimed fire is plausable.

Matthew
2008-05-22, 03:38 AM
I have a quickly question. I've always wanted to try my hand at archery. At how far of a range could a reasonably good archer reliably hit a man sized target with a medieval British style longbow? What about other types of bows.

There was some great discussion about this on the last thread, but it's somewhere in amongst those three thousand or so posts. It depends not only on the draw weight of the bow, but also the weight of the arrow. Fhaolan and Adlan will be able to give you more precise information, but a reasonable rule of thumb is probably about one hundred to three hundred feet; Weapons that made Britain (http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/W/weapons/longbow1.html).

Ah here we go: The discussion picks up somewhere on this page (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1909555&highlight=range#post1909555) and again on this one (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2909447&highlight=range#post2909447).

Hairb
2008-05-22, 06:22 AM
The links to old threads in post #1 are stuffed.
EDIT: Wow. That could have been worded better. They don't actually link to anything, just http://versionIV or something similar. Might we get them fixed?

Raum
2008-05-22, 07:09 AM
But that is the whole point! With the new formations, only 5 men deep at most, instead of the classic way that everyone else in Europe fought (the big 20x20 man deep squares), there is no need for the longer pikes.
So no, this was not an urban myth, this is adapting the equipment as needed. In practical use this means the pikes was just as long as on the Holy Roman side, since the deep squares meant that the troops in the center would be too covered by their own guys in front to fire a musket, but too far back for even their longer pikes to reach in front of the guys in front. The pike formations were thinned to allow more arquebussiers near the front of the formation.


Also, in addition for quicker movement and more efficient use of men (by actually making all men in the formation able to reach and hit the enemy at all times) the thinner formations allowed the pikes to carry guns to be fired when opportunity struck.The Swedes under Gustav did practice a combined arms strategy but they didn't arm pikemen with arquebusses or muskets. Besides the simple expense, firearms of the day fired too slowly, they needed the pikemen as protection. It wouldn't be either easy or fast to switch between a musket and pike, certainly not something you'd do in combat.


As for horses, except for Polish nobles and Cossacks, almost everyone used their mounted units as I described above: Ride up to the enemy, fire your guns in the face of their front line (just outside the reach of pikes) and turn around to reload. No physical attack at all. So the old "pike wall against cavalry" was not really needed anymore; 90% of all pike battle was fought against other guys with pikes. Ironically, the Swedish cavalry was one of the very few that threw away their muskets and guns instead of re-loading them and then crashing into the enemy steel drawn.Cavalry charges were used through the mid 19th century. Only disciplined formations (usually pikes until firearms rate of fire was reasonable) were able to stop or prevent such a charge.


The Swedes realized the best way to deal with a wall of men with pikes is not another wall of men with pikes but to just blow them to bits with your muskets.

As for not being easier to maneuver: The lesser weight alone would make the troops quicker to react and move. You are right that the need for skill and discipline is not lessened because the length of the pike is shorter.The increase in combat unit mobility came from thinner lines of pikes. It's easier to maneuver and turn the thinner line of men. And, given the pikes' length, thinning the lines didn't decrease effectiveness. Particularly when it allowed you to put more arquebussiers on the line.

Do you have any references for Gustav having shortened pikes? The Dutch, shortly before Gustav's time, standardized pike length. But any shortening was secondary to standardization.

Storm Bringer
2008-05-22, 08:43 AM
Cavalry charges were used through the mid 19th century. Only disciplined formations (usually pikes until firearms rate of fire was reasonable) were able to stop or prevent such a charge.


just a pointer: almost any formed infantry could hold off cav as long as thier nerve held. history is full of examples of Cavalry attempting charges at formed blocks of troops and failing. Successful Cavalry charges happened whent either the target formation was heavily disrupted (say, after arty bombardment or a infanty firefight) or non-existant (such as when charging cannon).

also, in the years leading up to the 30 years war, the majority of regular Cavalry had adopted 'caracole' tactics, which were basically ride up to pistol shot, discharge pistols (often three or four per rider), THEN get what momentum you could up form 20 paces. considering both the accuracy of pistols in this era and the stability of horses as a firing platform, caracole was a dead end. Gustav saw this and brought back real shock action with the sabre as the proper use of Horse, at a time when his oppents were using thier cav as not very effective mounted infantry.

Subotei
2008-05-22, 10:20 AM
I'm no expert on the period you're discussing, but surely a thinner and therefore wider pike formation (assuming same numbers of men in each formation) has the considerable advantage in terms of being able to partially flank the opposing pike force? Pike blocks are notoriously vulnerable from the sides and rear if caught exposed.

The extra men in the front rows would provide exactly that opportunity, as the extra momentum of the deeper block would tend to push it into the thinner block, achieving a partial envelopment by their own action? In such a situation a shorter pike may grant an advantage, as I imagine its easier to manoever.

Mike_G
2008-05-22, 10:21 AM
I have a quickly question. I've always wanted to try my hand at archery. At how far of a range could a reasonably good archer reliably hit a man sized target with a medieval British style longbow? What about other types of bows.

One archer shooting one arrow at one man, probably 50 yards. Maybe closer to 100 if he were very good. I've been to some archery matches, and the hobbyist archer won't score many hits on a small target past 50 yards.

The usual battlefield tactic of shooting at a high angle at a vast block of enemy, that shot can be made out to the bows maximum range, since you are aiming at a large area. So long as the shot lands in the enemy formation, it's a good shot. None of the long shots at Agincourt were aimed at individuals. Just a few thousand shafts falling on the French formation yeildeed some hits.

Fhaolan
2008-05-22, 10:23 AM
There was some great discussion about this on the last thread, but it's somewhere in amongst those three thousand or so posts. It depends not only on the draw weight of the bow, but also the weight of the arrow. Fhaolan and Adlan will be able to give you more precise information, but a reasonable rule of thumb is probably about one hundred to three hundred feet; Weapons that made Britain (http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/W/weapons/longbow1.html).

Ah here we go: The discussion picks up somewhere on this page (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1909555&highlight=range#post1909555) and again on this one (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2909447&highlight=range#post2909447).


I'm not feeling that well, so my brain's all squishy. The effective range of a bow is based on so many variables it's difficult to quantify. The slightest change in the paramenters can add or subtract a suprising amount of range. For example, barrel-shafted arrows:

If you just go and buy arrows from the hunting store, they are very likely to be straight-shaft arrows. The 'spine' of the arrow, which is how much it flexes, has to matched well with the pull of the bow or you end up with your arrows flinging off in weird directions when you loose them (this is called 'archer's paradox' for more information on this, try a websearch). Because they're straight-shafted, the spine is mainly dependant on the density of the wood (usually cedar in this region), and the diameter of the shaft. The heavier the shaft, the more spine. So, the more pull the bow, the heavier the arrow needs to be. Leading to the effect of the range of the bow not increasing quite as fast with the increase in pull as you would first expect.

But there's another option. Shave the arrow shafts so that they taper towards the front and the back, with the center being the thickest. This is called 'barrel shafts'. You end up with a high spined arrow that weighs less, and therefore gets more range. However, the manufacture of each arrow takes a *lot* more effort.

There's *lots* more little things like that, little tricks and techniques that will change your effective range by significant amounts, if you're willing to put the extra cost and effort into it.

Oh, and there's another thing that a lot of archers who pick up the hobby without access to old-school archers don't know. Nearly everyone who picks up a bow figures out right fast that there are two types of shooting. Direct and hyperbolic. Hyperbolic is what you see in all the movies and the like during battles, with the arrows arcing high overhead. This gives the arrows lots more range. However, the ability to aim is very low. You would think.

What a lot of people don't know is that archers used to train specifically for hyperbolic shooting. It was called 'shooting the clout', clout being another word for cloth. The idea being a small target sitting flat on the ground, and the archers all attempting to hit it by shooting hyperbolic. So, they didn't just shoot their arrows into the air and hope they hit *something* just out of laws of probability. They actually learned to aim hyperbolically. Fun, eh?

Mike_G
2008-05-22, 10:57 AM
I'm not feeling that well, so my brain's all squishy. The effective range of a bow is based on so many variables it's difficult to quantify. The slightest change in the paramenters can add or subtract a suprising amount of range. For example, barrel-shafted arrows:

If you just go and buy arrows from the hunting store, they are very likely to be straight-shaft arrows. The 'spine' of the arrow, which is how much it flexes, has to matched well with the pull of the bow or you end up with your arrows flinging off in weird directions when you loose them (this is called 'archer's paradox' for more information on this, try a websearch). Because they're straight-shafted, the spine is mainly dependant on the density of the wood (usually cedar in this region), and the diameter of the shaft. The heavier the shaft, the more spine. So, the more pull the bow, the heavier the arrow needs to be. Leading to the effect of the range of the bow not increasing quite as fast with the increase in pull as you would first expect.

But there's another option. Shave the arrow shafts so that they taper towards the front and the back, with the center being the thickest. This is called 'barrel shafts'. You end up with a high spined arrow that weighs less, and therefore gets more range. However, the manufacture of each arrow takes a *lot* more effort.

There's *lots* more little things like that, little tricks and techniques that will change your effective range by significant amounts, if you're willing to put the extra cost and effort into it.

Oh, and there's another thing that a lot of archers who pick up the hobby without access to old-school archers don't know. Nearly everyone who picks up a bow figures out right fast that there are two types of shooting. Direct and hyperbolic. Hyperbolic is what you see in all the movies and the like during battles, with the arrows arcing high overhead. This gives the arrows lots more range. However, the ability to aim is very low. You would think.

What a lot of people don't know is that archers used to train specifically for hyperbolic shooting. It was called 'shooting the clout', clout being another word for cloth. The idea being a small target sitting flat on the ground, and the archers all attempting to hit it by shooting hyperbolic. So, they didn't just shoot their arrows into the air and hope they hit *something* just out of laws of probability. They actually learned to aim hyperbolically. Fun, eh?

I'm not saying they didn't aim. I'm saying they didn't aim at one man.

A formation of longbowmen were not used like snipers, to hit a man at 200 yards. They were used like mortars, to accurately saturate a target area with fire. You aim a mortar, but you aim it at an area where the enemy is, not at a single man.

The clout was certainly not the size of a human shadow at noon, but big enough to represent men in formation.

Matthew
2008-05-22, 12:35 PM
Sounds like we're all broadly in agreement; I was actually not acquainted with the 'clout' shot, but I can definitely imagine that being the kind of thing that skilled bowmen would practice at.

Fhaolan
2008-05-22, 01:16 PM
I'm not saying they didn't aim. I'm saying they didn't aim at one man.

A formation of longbowmen were not used like snipers, to hit a man at 200 yards. They were used like mortars, to accurately saturate a target area with fire. You aim a mortar, but you aim it at an area where the enemy is, not at a single man.

The clout was certainly not the size of a human shadow at noon, but big enough to represent men in formation.

Oh, I agree. They were likely shooting at formations. I'm just saying that you can get a surprising level of accuracy with hyperbolic shooting, if you practice dilligently at it.

The clout I practiced with was about 3' diameter, and I was shooting from about 150 yards. I couldn't hit the blasted thing on a bet, myself, but others I was working with got a respectable hit rate. Apparantly getting within 24' of the target was good for a beginner, 12' of the target was considered to be reasonable for a hobby-archer who practices at it, but if you wanted to be *really* serious you'd be shooting from 250 yards away and be hitting the clout itself regularly. That's Olympic-level skill as far as I'm concerned.

Apparantly, the whole 'clout shooting' sport is based on the training still performed by the Royal Company of Archers in Scotland. They're the King's/Queen's bodyguard in Scotland, were formed in 1676, and have kept the traditions alive since then.

Storm Bringer
2008-05-22, 04:44 PM
I'm no expert on the period you're discussing, but surely a thinner and therefore wider pike formation (assuming same numbers of men in each formation) has the considerable advantage in terms of being able to partially flank the opposing pike force? Pike blocks are notoriously vulnerable from the sides and rear if caught exposed.

The extra men in the front rows would provide exactly that opportunity, as the extra momentum of the deeper block would tend to push it into the thinner block, achieving a partial envelopment by their own action? In such a situation a shorter pike may grant an advantage, as I imagine its easier to manoever.

Not really. frist, turning inwards like that would expose you own rear flank to the formations on either side of you, thus inviting serious trouble. second, the 'push of pike' was not the part of meele when most of the casualties happened: it was when one side broke that most men died. A thinner pike block has less staying power and is more likey to break compared to a thicker one.

also, in the normal pike formation of that time, the terico, two very important things must be noted

1) thier were significant numbers of non pike armed soldiers at each corner of a terico, namly the musketiers. they would happily fall on a inward turning pike flank, should one present itself. or just shoot it at point blank.

2) Tericos fought in threes (hence the name), with one block forward and two behind and on the flanks. trying to flank the formation would leave you own flank wide open to these guys.

Dervag
2008-05-22, 08:52 PM
What a lot of people don't know is that archers used to train specifically for hyperbolic shooting. It was called 'shooting the clout', clout being another word for cloth. The idea being a small target sitting flat on the ground, and the archers all attempting to hit it by shooting hyperbolic. So, they didn't just shoot their arrows into the air and hope they hit *something* just out of laws of probability. They actually learned to aim hyperbolically. Fun, eh?This may help to explain why good long-range archers took so long to train. That sounds very difficult, and something not all people would be able to master at all. Long practice at clout shots, along with the great muscle training required to keep up sustained archery from high-pull bows, would tend to make longbowmen a rare animal.

Crow
2008-05-24, 04:55 PM
This is PIAF, but I thought I'd post it here to see what you guys thought;

I just got a new Springfield XD-9, so we took it to the range last week. We were firing Winchester 115gr ball ammo (cheap range ammo, but not reloads), and while I didn't experience any malfunctions, my buddy managed to get a type 3 (doublefeed), and my wife got a type 2 (stovepipe). Everyone I know says that the XD is supposed to be super-reliable, so I was surprised that I would get two malfunctions in just 100 rounds.

Like I said, I didn't get any malfunctions, and the pistol performed admirably for me.

As for the two malfunctions we did get (my buddy and my wife), other people I have spoken with have mentioned that "limp-wristing" an automatic can absorb some of the recoil energy and cause the slide to not recoil as far as it normally would, causing malfunctions. To be fair, my buddy said the XD seemed to have a lot of recoil (which it doesn't). He is not a very experienced shooter. In all my time working around firearms, this is the first time I have heard of malfunctions occurring because of limp-wrist.

Is this a common occurrence, or are my fellow professionals pulling this out of their butts?

Next time I head to the range, I am going to run some Speer 9mm through it, to see if the malfunctions may have been ammo-related. But until then, I don't feel very comfortable carrying the XD for work on a day-to-day basis.

Any insight you guys can offer would be much appreciated regarding the "limp-wrist" thing, and any experience you may have had with this particular firearm.

Norsesmithy
2008-05-24, 06:21 PM
A limp wrist is when you are holding the gun too soft, the motion in your wrist absorbs some of the energy needed to cycle the gun. Also, you can expect a 250 to 500 round break in period for most non-custom handguns.

If I were you, I would have an experienced shooter critique your form, and then I would shoot another 400 rounds (Walmart has Winchester White Box for a good price), cleaning every hundred rounds.

If you have ANY malfunctions that are not OBVIOUSLY shooter related in the last 200 rounds or so, call Springfield Armory for help. They have earned a superb customer service rep, and will do right by you.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2008-05-24, 08:46 PM
To properly get an answer to the quiz question Dervag posted, one needs to get a view of warfare during history. I'm going to be focusing on western warfare hear, and the middle east, and later the Americas.

We start in the Middle East. Babylon, Assyria, etc. Poorly armoured infantry with spears and bows. The bow dominated the field. Babylonian and Assyrian archers were prized. Assyrians specialized in siege warfare.
Then, all of a sudden, Hittites from Anatolia sweep into play. They have one of the first pivotal inventions: chariots. They sweep their enemies away, until Egypt adapts chariots for their own needs, and stops them. Chariots spread across the civilised world.
Now we're in Greece and Anatolia. Here, warfare is between heavily armoured mobs, with chariots.
A new wave of nomads from the area that is now Kazakhstan sweeps in: the Scythians. They have a new invention, the second pivotal invention: Horseback riding. They introduce cavalry to the Middle East, but it never really catches on elsewhere.
Back to Greece. The old Minoans and Achaeans are gone, and the Greeks are here. They fight in phalanxes of heavily armoured citizen/soldiers: both the first militia and the first organised unit formation we know of.
Slowly, emphasis shifts from the Phalanx to lighter units of javelins and archers called Peltasts.
Rome. Founded, as the story goes, by fugitives from Troy. The Early Roman Empire dominates Italy, with the Legion. Citizen/soldiers. We all probably have a pretty good idea of their armour and weapons. Their formation was something completely new. They were divided into legions. One roman legion and one allied legion worked together. The legions were divided into companies of 100 men, who were arranged in a checkerboard formation. They would throw pili, then attack. They conquer all.
Meanwhile, a Mongolian tribe called the Hun's sweep from Transoxania into Europa proper. They push out the Goths. The Goths sweep into Europe, and the Romans get a harsh introduction to the benefits of shock cavalry (they had already been fighting Parthian cavalry archers for a little while.) Germanic tribes, who now have better iron and weapons then the romans, sweep over the romans. The roman empire is divided into two. The west is reduced to using German tribes as mercanaries.
And, my mouse dies. Just great.

Crow
2008-05-24, 10:45 PM
A limp wrist is when you are holding the gun too soft, the motion in your wrist absorbs some of the energy needed to cycle the gun. Also, you can expect a 250 to 500 round break in period for most non-custom handguns.

If I were you, I would have an experienced shooter critique your form, and then I would shoot another 400 rounds (Walmart has Winchester White Box for a good price), cleaning every hundred rounds.

If you have ANY malfunctions that are not OBVIOUSLY shooter related in the last 200 rounds or so, call Springfield Armory for help. They have earned a superb customer service rep, and will do right by you.

Limp wrist isn't a problem I have =) But I'll look a little closer next time my wife and friend shoot. I am aware of the breaking in, but it was unusual to see two malfunctions in such a short span.

So you are saying limp-wrist is a common cause of malfunction?

Ruerl
2008-05-25, 02:13 PM
I'm going to say the United States. With the development of nuclear weapons, the U.S. dropped the curtain on the long-line of Adventurer-Conquerers (the last being Adolf Hitler).

Even naval and air power doctrine changed to account for nuclear weapons. Warfare will never be the same. You will never again see conquests the likes of what the Roman Empire, Napoleon, Hitler, or Alexander accomplished.

Nah, thats just one weapon and not completly innovative, its the idea of a super weapon that can win you the war, but it was outdated less than a decade after its invention due to others getting it too.

And it may have stopped large scale conquerers, but not small scale ones, not even close. Since it is a weapon that cannot be applied withouth risking it being applied to yourself in turn, wich in other words, is called suicide.

I'm going to nominate the romans, despite the fact that they copied much of their technology from other cultures, they where able to completly change the way much of it was applied -and how you apply your millitary assets can be innovative as well, in additional to this they have left behind a huge legacy that can be felt as much as the greek way of life.
Our thinking today in the western world, down to our laws, are still heavedly inspired by the romans.

the united states, while having made some suprising turns and suprises, haven't really done enough, they have invented one or two things that have changed the rules completly, but so have other cultures over time, and as such their likedly just not near the most innovative culture on this field. -they just haven't had time for it.

But if not the romans, then i'd likedly nominate the bunch of cultures that makes china as well.

@The sidetracked discussion of the german scientists: It was a international project and a ton of scientists, not just german ones, there where for example the dane Niels Bohr

@On the sweedes: Honestly, I think people where well aware that the best way to dealing with pike formations was'nt another pike formation a long long time before the sweedes shortened their pikes.

In closing on the question, I think its impossible to nominate a culture completly and agree on it, since most cultures have made on or ten huge millitary or millitarily important, innovations throughout history -wich then have been stolen ASAP by the other nations and developed on.

Crow
2008-05-25, 07:52 PM
Nah, thats just one weapon and not completly innovative, its the idea of a super weapon that can win you the war, but it was outdated less than a decade after its invention due to others getting it too.

Just because others have it does not mean it is outdated. The effects of any nation having it will always have to be taken into account. It's not like they cancel eachother out. Even mutually-assured destruction doesn't mean that their existence becomes null-and-void. The capability must still be taken into account.


And it may have stopped large scale conquerers, but not small scale ones, not even close. Since it is a weapon that cannot be applied withouth risking it being applied to yourself in turn, wich in other words, is called suicide.

Yeah, I was using Napoleon, Alexander, and the Roman Empire. The likes of which, will probably never be seen again. I didn't say it ended all wars or anything like that.

Dervag
2008-05-25, 10:40 PM
Nah, thats just one weapon and not completly innovative, its the idea of a super weapon that can win you the war, but it was outdated less than a decade after its invention due to others getting it too.The idea of a "war-winning superweapon" is old, yes- though perhaps not as old as you think.

But "war winning superweapon" is neither a tactic nor a technology in and of itself. You cannot say "We will defeat our enemy with the power of war winning superweapon." You have to actually have a war winning superweapon, and a good one, too. Actual innovations in military tech and tactics are specific; "war winning superweapon" is general. So the fact that someone came up with a war winning superweapon does not mean they were stealing an idea from earlier people with completely different superweapons.

Moreover, it is definitely not true that nuclear weapons became outdated when more people got them. Relations between two countries that do have nuclear weapons are very different from the way those relations look when neither one has them.

So yes, they stopped providing the US a unique advantage after about five to ten years. But that isn't what I was asking about; the real question is who came up with the most and best ideas for improving the art of warfare?


the united states, while having made some suprising turns and suprises, haven't really done enough, they have invented one or two things that have changed the rules completly, but so have other cultures over time, and as such their likedly just not near the most innovative culture on this field. -they just haven't had time for it.It's actually quite possible that the US military's current preferred style of fighting wars, using flexible forces with a lot of fire support, et cetera, et cetera, is revolutionary. Ask someone like Swordguy for more details on how it works.

As for myself, I'm not sure; it may be that our style of warfare is something so complicated that only a very rich country fighting relatively small opponents can carry out efficiently. I lack both the expertise to judge the techniques and the historical perspective to know when they do and do not work.


@The sidetracked discussion of the german scientists: It was a international project and a ton of scientists, not just german ones, there where for example the dane Niels BohrYeah, and a lot of the non-Germans fled Europe because they disliked the intellectual climate created by Nazis. Niels Bohr in particular was specifically fleeing Nazis. Had the Nazis not chased away most of Europe's great nuclear physicists, they would have had far more luck with their bomb.

Crow
2008-05-26, 01:28 AM
It's actually quite possible that the US military's current preferred style of fighting wars, using flexible forces with a lot of fire support, et cetera, et cetera, is revolutionary. Ask someone like Swordguy for more details on how it works.

Look up Col. John Boyd and the OODA loop for one example.

Swordguy
2008-05-26, 03:06 AM
It's actually quite possible that the US military's current preferred style of fighting wars, using flexible forces with a lot of fire support, et cetera, et cetera, is revolutionary. Ask someone like Swordguy for more details on how it works.


Well, since I'm being called out directly I guess I can jump into the conversation. :smallbiggrin:

Like may things, the answer is a mixed bag...

The short version is: US Army doctrine is revolutionary in that nobody has ever managed to fight like we do before. However, it is not revolutionary in that the central tenet of US Army doctrine, Maneuver Warfare, is not a uniquely American concept. We just do it better than anyone else, for a variety of factors.

The long version works like this (building off Crow's mention of OODA Loops):

All organizations and beings, including the OPFOR, undergo a certain cycle odf events when interacting with their environment. This cycle is called the OODA Loop.

* Observation: the collection of data (by whatever means, senses, electronic sensors...whatever)
* Orientation: the analysis of the data collected
* Decision: the determination of a course of action that best reacts to the data set produced by the first 2 steps
* Action: the actual act of carrying-out the decisions reached

The current US Army doctrine centers around Maneuver Warfare. Now, everybody uses tactical maneuvering (to move a given unit around the battlefield to gain an advantage on OPFOR units), but that's not what true Maneuver Warfare is about. Instead of maneuvering units against enemy strongpoints in an effort to eliminate maximal enemy assets (troops and infrastructure, primarily) - this is called "attritional warfare", by the way - units are manuevered in such a way to selectively eliminate key OPFOR targets (C3 systems, logistics bases, etc) to the point where the OPFOR ability to fight effectively is eradicated. Once this is achieved, the enemy is left with the options to surrender or to engage in battle with a severely depleted ability to fight - making their eventual defeat (in theory) assured.

Maneuver Warfare interacts with the OODA Loop in a specific way. In short, it continually interrupts it. Say, force A is ordered to attack when OPFOR (the US) hits Point Z. Because the OPFOR is centered around Maneuver, however, it hits Point Y instead. Now, Force A has to contact HQ to find out what to do. HQ processes the information, but takes long enough to do so that the OPFOR is able to disengage from Point Y and hit Point X. The orders to attack that HQ were about to give now have to be revised in light of the new information. In essence, the OPFOR interrupted the OODA loop between the Decision step and the Action step and forced the enemy to start the loop over again with the new information (hitting Point X). Theoretically, this type of warfare can completely paralyze the chain of command while they keep having to react to continually changing events on the battlefield.

Now, Maneuver Warfare requires four really important things to function for any reasonable length of time. It requires speed (duh), firepower (cause what good is it if it can't do anything when it gets there?), communications (to tell your people where to go next), and the logistic support to keep it going to paralyze the OPFOR OODA cycle for as long as possible. It is the ability of the US Army to fully utilize these in a way that NO military force have ever done that makes it revolutionary.

The concept of maneuver warfare is quite old. Ancient examples include the existence of the chariot, and light cavalry. However, communication and firepower were always lacking with these (light cavalry will get stopped and hacked up by a tight formation if they get in close enough to use effective weapons, and neither are able to recieve new battle orders well once they're out of earshot). More recent examples include Napoleon's quick-marching troops (allowing this forces to be someplace before the OPFOR expected them to be, allowing for strategic surprise) who even foraged from the land to reduce their logistical tail so they could march faster and farther than anybody expected. Because they marched so fast, his divisions could isolate OPFOR units from each other and destroy them in detail - a hallmark of maneuver warfare.

Modern Maneuver Warfare, incorporating all battlefield aspects (land, air, etc) was of course pioneered by the Germans in WWII. Radio allowed communications to redirect attacks against the Allied Centers of Gravity. Armor and Air Power gave enough firepower to overwhelm the defenders (though this was actually their weakest link, due to the inability of tube artillery to keep up with the battle). Logistics was also a weak link, but was good enough, with the preponderance of horse-drawn wagons and a few trucks supplying German forces. Speed is the obvious strong point, between air power and motorized infantry the spearheaded attacks (though the vast majority of the Wehrmacht was leg infantry, just like everyone else).

Now, we get back to the Americans. ENTIRELY due to the amount of money and technology we've developed for the military, we've taken the German model and perfected it about as far as is realistically possible. Communications are instant and the most reliable in history, what with Satellite comms. Our logistics train is probably the fastest in the world - almost entirely computer-controlled (IVIS systems can predict part wear on an armored vehicle and order a new part to the company supply before the part wears out, with no input from the crew) and incredibly reliable. Even with the incredible amount of resources the US military consumes, the needs are able to be met with somewhere around a 97% success rate (variable depending on a host of factors, like having supply dumps blown up by enemy action...). The Germans couldn't even keep their troops fed during the attacks in Poland, and forget about ammo and gasoline. Logistic shortages stopped more German units in 1939 than the Poles did. Speed? Yeah, between supersonic aircraft and cruise missiles, and a flotilla of aircraft, landing ships, and motorized infantry, US soldiers can get anywhere VERY fast. And when they get there? The big advance isn't in fast tanks or APCs. It's in artillery that can keep up with the general advance. For a long time, artillery had to be dug in in a stationary firing position. So, if it's got a 25km range, the front can advance only 25km forward before the artillery has to be dug out, mounted, towed somewhere new, dug in again, resighted, and is ready to fire. This process take about 2-6 hours at a minimum. Unfortunately, maneuver warfare means that the battlefield can move 25km is as little as 30 minutes. So the artillery to tracks. Fast, GPS-guided Self-propelled artillery is the hammer of the infantry, and it's what really gives the attacking US forces their punch. Air strikes or cruise missile may not work for a whole LOT of reasons (enemy air cover, low fuel, units are Winchester and RTBing for more bullets), but accurate, mobile artillery is the single most reliable support system for infantry. Americans like artillery (there was a report from WWII about how US forces, when under attack by a sniper, would simply back off and let their artillery pound the snot out of the whole area -the Germans considered it rather unsporting), and call for it plentifully, since their logistic train allow profligate expenditure of artillery shells. Finally, the US fights at all hours of the day. Nobody else, not even the Brits or Germans, really do it to the extent that the US does. This is sheer technological edge at work, and it allows the US to fight and inflict chaos literally twice the time that anybody else can. The applications of this in Maneuver Warfare should be obvious.

So, what does all this mean? The US didn't really invent maneuver warfare. What they have done is achieved a military force that is the single most mobile and powerful force in the history of mankind, with a few technological achievements of their own (GPS, self-propelled artillery, night-fighting) to really perfect the style of combat. It's not revolutionary in the sense that it's new - but it's certainly revolutionized large-scale combat in a way nobody else can currently match.

Edmund
2008-05-27, 01:37 AM
just a pointer: almost any formed infantry could hold off cav as long as thier nerve held. history is full of examples of Cavalry attempting charges at formed blocks of troops and failing. Successful Cavalry charges happened whent either the target formation was heavily disrupted (say, after arty bombardment or a infanty firefight) or non-existant (such as when charging cannon).


I would disagree.

First: Cavalry charges often served the purpose of disrupting (and subsequently defeating) an enemy formation, as they did at Arsuf 1191 and Ceresole in 1544 (to pick two unrelated examples).

Second: History is likewise full of examples of cavalry attempting charges at formed blocks of infantry and succeeding as the Normans did at Hastings, the Teutonic Knights did at Rakovor in 1268 and received in turn at Tannenburg in 1411, and the French Gendarmerie did at Fornovo in 1494 and Dreux in 1562. Beyond morale really depends on how accessible the flanks are, how well-formed and armored the riders and mounts are.

I would argue, in fact, that until the rise of the pike square the fact that formed lines of infantry succeed is a notable exception, rather than the rule. What's also worth noting is that failed cavalry charges were a result of unsuitable terrain or heavy missile fire more often than any kind of inherent infantry superiority: Bannockburn, Poitiers, Agincourt, Courtrai, Morgarten, the list is long indeed.

Storm Bringer
2008-05-27, 02:35 AM
hmm....

hastings: Norman knights spend almost the entire day making unscessful attacks against the saxon line, then, during a foolish saxon counter-charge, get into the formation and kill the king, breaking the army.
Concludsions: Formed saxon infantry could hold off Norman knightsm even when the Knights had archers and infantry in close support, for as long as they held thier formation.

Rakovor : teutonic Knights charge deep into the russian lines, break the russian ranks, then are flanked and destroyed
Concludsions: Teutonic Knights could break the russian formations, but couldn't exploit their successes alone.

Tannenburg: I can't actaully find an estimate of the russian infantry in this battle, which implies their wasn't any worth speaking of. Certianly, everything I've seen portrays it as a mainly Cavalry afffair.
Concludsions: russain/teutonic infanty did not seriously affect the coruse of the battle, either by not being used or only fighting after the battle was already decided.

Arsuf: Hospitaller knights charge, agianst direct orders, at dismounted arab horse archers, and scatter them. they are in turn nearly overwhelmed by the Arab counter attacks, forcing Richard to charge with the rest of his knights to save the Hospitallers. the arabs are forced back and flee, and richard chooses not to persue.
Concludsions Unsupported charges by knights were suicide, but with proper backing, could gain victory.



Not the most impressive track record, and cetainly not a wholesale endorsement of unsupported cav charges.

Edmund
2008-05-27, 07:54 AM
Let me first make it clear that I am not saying that unsupported knight charges are a smart idea. Unsupported anything is a bad idea, generally, and this goes for infantry too.

To say, though, that 'infantry in formation would beat cavalry' as some kind of universal truth is wrong because it takes no account of the various advantages that otherwise-inadequate (ie non-pike) infantry had, primarily advantages in terrain and numbers.


hmm....

hastings: Norman knights spend almost the entire day making unscessful attacks against the saxon line, then, during a foolish saxon counter-charge, get into the formation and kill the king, breaking the army.
Concludsions: Formed saxon infantry could hold off Norman knightsm even when the Knights had archers and infantry in close support, for as long as they held thier formation.

The advantage here again lay with the terrain. The Norman knights could not flank the English until a portion of them broke rank and were annihilated. The remaining English did indeed hold formation, but were charged and flanked and routed. Thus I think it's fair to say that they lost despite holding their formation.


Rakovor : teutonic Knights charge deep into the russian lines, break the russian ranks, then are flanked and destroyed
Concludsions: Teutonic Knights could break the russian formations, but couldn't exploit their successes alone.

Ah, but they were meant to be supported by more cavalry, who instead of fulfilling their flanking role chose to raid the baggage train. It was, in this case, the press of numbers and (more importantly) a failure of role fulfillment that lead to this defeat.

The initial cavalry charge was highly successful. It drove deep into the Novgorodian ranks just as it was supposed to, and effectively pinned them for a follow-up charge which never came.


Tannenburg: I can't actaully find an estimate of the russian infantry in this battle, which implies their wasn't any worth speaking of. Certianly, everything I've seen portrays it as a mainly Cavalry afffair.
Concludsions: russain/teutonic infanty did not seriously affect the coruse of the battle, either by not being used or only fighting after the battle was already decided.

It was indeed a mostly cavalry battle but there were still infantry elements, especially in the baggage train. Specifically 15,000 armed Polish commoners, and 5,000 Teutonic infantry. source (http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/chapters/STOPOL.pdf)


Arsuf: Hospitaller knights charge, agianst direct orders, at dismounted arab horse archers, and scatter them. they are in turn nearly overwhelmed by the Arab counter attacks, forcing Richard to charge with the rest of his knights to save the Hospitallers. the arabs are forced back and flee, and richard chooses not to persue.
Concludsions Unsupported charges by knights were suicide, but with proper backing, could gain victory.

Notice that the Hospitallers broke rank. Had they remained with the body of Richard's forces and charged with the rest of the knights the subsequent charge, rout and massacre would likely have been even more effective. Thus the fact that they were overwhelmed and nearly defeated is as invalid an example as the English that left the shield wall at Hastings.

Regardless, the damage inflicted by the Hospitallers, even unsupported, was impressive.


Not the most impressive track record, and cetainly not a wholesale endorsement of unsupported cav charges.

No but it is very strong evidence that on even terrain cavalry could and often did beat infantry, even in cases when the latter had a large numerical advantage (as at Arsuf or Ramleh or Muret). My point is that infantry formations are not a sure thing by any stretch.

Avilan the Grey
2008-05-27, 09:19 AM
The mass of eight feet of wood is significant, but not enough to explain the whole thing by itself.

...I am by no means a military historian or other expert, all I know is the pikes were shortened, and that we kicked butt. Your arguments against cutting the length of the pikes are very convincing. That does not change the fact that the pikes were shortened.

Avilan the Grey
2008-05-27, 09:22 AM
I'm no expert on the period you're discussing, but surely a thinner and therefore wider pike formation (assuming same numbers of men in each formation) has the considerable advantage in terms of being able to partially flank the opposing pike force? Pike blocks are notoriously vulnerable from the sides and rear if caught exposed.

The extra men in the front rows would provide exactly that opportunity, as the extra momentum of the deeper block would tend to push it into the thinner block, achieving a partial envelopment by their own action? In such a situation a shorter pike may grant an advantage, as I imagine its easier to manoever.

Well AFAIK the formations didn't grow wider, they were still 20 (25) men wide. However aving 60% more formations would render the same effect...

Avilan the Grey
2008-05-27, 09:32 AM
hmm....

hastings: Norman knights spend almost the entire day making unscessful attacks against the saxon line, then, during a foolish saxon counter-charge, get into the formation and kill the king, breaking the army.
Concludsions: Formed saxon infantry could hold off Norman knightsm even when the Knights had archers and infantry in close support, for as long as they held thier formation.

Rakovor : teutonic Knights charge deep into the russian lines, break the russian ranks, then are flanked and destroyed
Concludsions: Teutonic Knights could break the russian formations, but couldn't exploit their successes alone.

Tannenburg: I can't actaully find an estimate of the russian infantry in this battle, which implies their wasn't any worth speaking of. Certianly, everything I've seen portrays it as a mainly Cavalry afffair.
Concludsions: russain/teutonic infanty did not seriously affect the coruse of the battle, either by not being used or only fighting after the battle was already decided.

Arsuf: Hospitaller knights charge, agianst direct orders, at dismounted arab horse archers, and scatter them. they are in turn nearly overwhelmed by the Arab counter attacks, forcing Richard to charge with the rest of his knights to save the Hospitallers. the arabs are forced back and flee, and richard chooses not to persue.
Concludsions Unsupported charges by knights were suicide, but with proper backing, could gain victory.

Oh I have two more, so far:

Agincourt: French knights charging against orders, failing to break the line of archers (not that having performed the ordered charge wouldn't have helped; the ordered tactic of dismounting and charging on foot only got them stuck in the mud).

Arab cavalry charging against gaul infantery and failing to break the line, and as a concequence being forced to halt the advancement of arab culture and make do with spain alone.

Deadmeat.GW
2008-05-27, 05:05 PM
Hum...Agincourt...

Have you seen the latest research in the matter?

The so-called massive superiority in numbers of the French was grosly over-estimated, the Brits also had the high ground effectively with dug-in positions and siege equipment, the terrain was such that it formed a natural bottle neck and not least the mud was about a foot deep in parts of the battle field...

Charging, actually trundling slowly, across open ground where you are forced over a very small frontage with no way to spread out versus siege equipment and cavalry (especially heavy one) is going to be seriously reduced in effect and at a massive disadvantage.

As for the Arab cavalry...lightly armoured cavalry which is better suited for Parthian tactics charging into what was at the time the prime heavy infantry in the world with a solid shield wall and you are going to notice bad things happening to the cavalry if they cannot get around the flanks which they were not able to do in this situation.

To be honest the small horses the arabs used at the time and their generic gear was no suited for a frontal attack.
They just did not have the weight or impact required to break a heavy infantry line.

Dervag
2008-05-27, 09:29 PM
...I am by no means a military historian or other expert, all I know is the pikes were shortened, and that we kicked butt. Your arguments against cutting the length of the pikes are very convincing. That does not change the fact that the pikes were shortened.Could you cite some reliable sources about the pike-shortening? I've heard it both ways, but it's so hard for me to believe that I would very much like to hear it from someone I know did their homework.


Maneuver Warfare interacts with the OODA Loop in a specific way. In short, it continually interrupts it. Say, force A is ordered to attack when OPFOR (the US) hits Point Z. Because the OPFOR is centered around Maneuver, however, it hits Point Y instead. Now, Force A has to contact HQ to find out what to do. HQ processes the information, but takes long enough to do so that the OPFOR is able to disengage from Point Y and hit Point X. The orders to attack that HQ were about to give now have to be revised in light of the new information. In essence, the OPFOR interrupted the OODA loop between the Decision step and the Action step and forced the enemy to start the loop over again with the new information (hitting Point X). Theoretically, this type of warfare can completely paralyze the chain of command while they keep having to react to continually changing events on the battlefield.To make matters worse, the US also has stealth aircraft and is quite capable of dropping a bomb down your chimney. By the time those units get around to phoning HQ for new orders the HQ staff may all be killed. Failing that, they may be in no condition to to campaign their way out of a paper bag, let alone counter an armored column rolling their troops up from the flank with Godzilla-like "grid square annihilation" bombardment of anything thorny enough to threaten the armored column.

[speculation]
On the other hand, sometimes in maneuver warfare it might be to your advantage to leave the high command intact because local commanders acting on their own initiative will react more quickly to your moves. This may have been the case in France in 1940. If the Germans had had the option of taking out French General Headquarters, they might have been better off not taking it. The French HQ took a very long to react to changes in the situation, and was easily overwhelmed by the realization that their line had been pierced. Individual French division and corps commanders acting alone might have been more able to counter the German penetration than the high command. As in, "possible" as opposed to "no way nohow."

Dhavaer
2008-05-27, 11:14 PM
Is there any reason you couldn't make bullets out of iron/cold iron?

Norsesmithy
2008-05-27, 11:56 PM
Out of a Smoothbore, they would work just fine (much of the birdshot used for waterfowl hunting is steel), but a rifled barrel needs to be able to "Bite" into the bullet to engage the rifling and spin the bullet.

I suppose you could use a raised copper band or a sabot to engage the rifling if you wanted to fire a cold iron bullet out of a unmodified gun to fight something with a vulnerability to that material.

7.62x25 rounds (tokerev pistol, among other eastern block firearms) are often steel cored, as are the bullets in M855 5.56x45 rounds.

Those rounds have a copper jacket, and a lead middle, wrapped around a steel penetrator at the core.

Swordguy
2008-05-28, 02:00 AM
Is there any reason you couldn't make bullets out of iron/cold iron?

You can fire pretty much anything out of a smoothbore, up to and including food (Civil War soldiers were known to fire hardtack once they were out of ammo).

Like norsesmithy said, modern slugs are multi-layered constructs. Since you mentioned Cold Iron, I imagine you want to shoot some sort of fey or magical critter in a game, right? Here's the problem. While you can certainly have a core of cold iron in your slug, a GM is probably going to rule that the cold iron needs to be touching the delicate insides of whatever you're hitting. The core doesn't necessarily touch those insides. What you want is a pure cold iron or cold iron-jacketed round. That's going to be a problem, because (again, like norsesmithy said) the rifling in the barrel won't be able to bite into the slug and force it to rotate to stabilize the flight.

If you want the effect of cold iron on a critter with a modern weapon, your best best is to use a shotgun with cold iron shot or a cold iron slug. Shotguns are smoothbores...

Edmund
2008-05-28, 06:34 AM
To solve the 'touching critter' problem, maybe you could do a hollowpoint or soft point with a steel core (like a hydrashock) or a steel core that doesn't touch the rifling, but is still exposed? Sort of like this (though it's a 9x21 round but you get the idea)

http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j171/EdmundIronside/pbm.jpg

edit: What kind of creature are to trying to whack and if it's small enough might I suggest a fly swatter?

Fhaolan
2008-05-28, 08:58 AM
To solve the 'touching critter' problem, maybe you could do a hollowpoint or soft point with a steel core (like a hydrashock) or a steel core that doesn't touch the rifling, but is still exposed? Sort of like this (though it's a 9x21 round but you get the idea)

http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j171/EdmundIronside/pbm.jpg

edit: What kind of creature are to trying to whack and if it's small enough might I suggest a fly swatter?

Or to take it a bit farther, a full-on sabot round that drops the riflling shell and only the iron core continues on?

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2008-05-28, 07:48 PM
Incendiary rounds are fun to watch. They're pretty.

Crow
2008-05-28, 09:07 PM
Incendiary rounds are fun to watch. They're pretty.

If you're talking about tracers, cleaning the weapon afterwards isn't. Pretty that is...

Haruspex
2008-05-28, 09:59 PM
How far are modern infantry realistically capable of marching in a day? Does each unit have dedicated transports or do they make do with what is there? I ask because from what I remember of Band Of Brothers it seemed that the protagonists walked from one end of France to the other.

Swordguy
2008-05-28, 10:18 PM
How far are modern infantry realistically capable of marching in a day? Does each unit have dedicated transports or do they make do with what is there? I ask because from what I remember of Band Of Brothers it seemed that the protagonists walked from one end of France to the other.

There's a huge number of variables. I assume you mean non-motorized ("leg") infantry. Assuming they're marching to the FEBA through controlled territory, around 20-24 miles a day is a safe bet, terrain allowing (mountains will, naturally, massively reduce this number). More than about 26 miles is starting to push it, and marching 30+ miles (like Stonewall Jackson's 'foot cavalry' in the US Civil War) is a stupendous feat.

If the infantry is already at the FEBA, the frequency of enemy action will largely dictate the pace of an infantry advance.

Crow
2008-05-28, 10:25 PM
How far are modern infantry realistically capable of marching in a day? Does each unit have dedicated transports or do they make do with what is there? I ask because from what I remember of Band Of Brothers it seemed that the protagonists walked from one end of France to the other.

Back when I was in, we were expected to complete about 20 miles with kit in about 5 hours by road, or 6 or 7 hours overland. That was in small groups. When you talk about moving entire units, it takes longer, but I couldn't tell you how long exactly. Someone else will though =)

Dervag
2008-05-28, 10:26 PM
How far are modern infantry realistically capable of marching in a day? Does each unit have dedicated transports or do they make do with what is there? I ask because from what I remember of Band Of Brothers it seemed that the protagonists walked from one end of France to the other.

During the Second World War that was the norm. No army used motorized transport for everything. The most extreme example of this was the German army, which had a small force of a dozen or so 'panzer' and 'panzergrenadier' divisions that had motorized transport and could advance a hundred miles or more in a day if conditions were right. Meanwhile, the bulk of their army (eighty to a few hundred divisions) had to walk.

Making matters worse, most of the German artillery and a lot of their logistics train was still horse-drawn. The theory was that the motorized units would breach the enemy line, run around behind him, and cut off his supplies while the foot sloggers (human and horse alike) destroyed him from the front. In practice, if the panzer commanders got too aggressive they would outrun their own supply system, as Swordguy mentioned a bit earlier in the thread in a related context.
____________________________

In World War Two, the US Army was unusual in that we had so many jeeps and trucks and such that, in theory, every soldier in a US army could crowd on a vehicle and ride to their destination. This was due to the fact that the US had some of the world's biggest auto manufacturers and its largest civilian motorist population. The same factories that churned out enormous numbers of Ford and General Motors cars could also churn out enormous numbers of jeeps and 2-1/2 ton trucks.

However, most of those vehicles were assigned to specific logistics and transport units, for important jobs like carrying artillery shells, food for the troops, and of course enough gasoline to keep all those jeeps and trucks running. Therefore, during normal combat operations they were not available to give the infantry rides.

So much of the time the US Army's infantry had to walk. In a big emergency, there were enough cars and trucks to shift a unit from one place to another on wheels, even in the 'straight leg' infantry units, but that capability was not used for normal combat operations.
____________________________

This was even worse for the 101st Airborne Division we see in "Band of Brothers." They were an airborne infantry division, so they had to airdrop out of planes and gliders into battle. That affected the equipment lists for the division. Since trucks couldn't be airdropped, the 101st didn't have the same level of organic (military for "built in") transport a lot of other divisions would have had.

So yes, E Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment would have been "walking from one end of France to the other." As would their German counterparts four years earlier, or for that matter their Roman counterparts two thousand years before that.
_______________________________

Today, a 'modern' (meaning: well equipped) army will in fact have enough trucks for everybody, or better yet enough IFVs ("infantry fighting vehicles", like APCs) for everybody. Thus, American soldiers might have had to march from one end of France to the other, but their grandchildren did not have to march from one end of Iraq to the other.

Swordguy
2008-05-28, 11:04 PM
Here's a relevant citation:

Ambrose, Stephen, Band of Brothers, pages 28-29:

Summation: In 1942, the CO of 2/506th AIR (Col. Strayer) decided to show off, and marched his battalion over a 118-mile route (100 miles of that overland) in December - low temperatures, deep wet mud, and freezing rain. This march was achieved with a loss of only 12 men falling out of the march. The total time was 75 hours (including rest). The actual marching time was 33 hours, 30 minutes. That translates to just about 3.5mph.

This march was considered a seriously impressive feat, and one to be attempted only by exceptionally well-trained troops (seeing as how the paratroopers underwent a much harsher training regime than the regular infantry).

This is probably your upper limit for speed, though it will increase slightly if using a smaller unit (Platoon or Company). Most troops will not be able to match this. In fact, most modern US infantry couldn't, because they rely more on their APCs.

Dervag
2008-05-28, 11:12 PM
Back when I was in, we were expected to complete about 20 miles with kit in about 5 hours by road, or 6 or 7 hours overland. That was in small groups. When you talk about moving entire units, it takes longer, but I couldn't tell you how long exactly. Someone else will though =)Note to general audience:

The reason for this is mostly the sheer hassle involved in getting everyone moving. For one guy in good physical condition, a 20 mile hike along roads in level country is not a huge deal. In fact, the guy could probably go quite a bit farther every day.

For a small group, it isn't much worse. The group won't take much longer to strike camp, get organized, and set up camp at their destination than one guy would.

For this reason, people sometimes express incredulity that a foot army could "only" be able to march 20 miles a day, as opposed to being able to travel much longer distances ("I can walk three miles an hour all day, there are 10 hours of good daylight, so an army should cover 30 miles!")

To dispel this incredulity, one may want to go through an intellectual exercise.
__________________________

Imagine you're the adult leader of a scout troop* that's doing a multi-day hike. Today they travel from one place to another, so the destination campsite isn't the same as the beginning one. Imagine all the hassles that might pop up because you're in charge of everything. You need to coordinate everyone's actions, make sure people take breaks at the right times, make sure nobody gets lost, and so on.

*As in, Boy Scouts.
________________________

Now imagine that you're coordinating the movement of several scout troops, the population of an entire summer camp. You have to make sure that large-scale accomodations are available: is there room for all the tents at the camp ground? If there isn't, you need to arrange room, somehow, because otherwise you've got forty Boy Scouts with no place to rest their heads for the night.

You need to watch to make sure that the groups don't get separated from each other People will get really worried if you reach your destination and an entire Girl Scout troop is missing, even if they trudge into camp bedraggled and tired an hour later.

And some of them will fall behind. You can't stop all the troops every time one of the kids gets a rock in their shoe, but the troop with the kid in it probably will stop. It's your job to make sure they catch up.

At this point, you're clearly entering the area of "problem." This is a pretty big job. Being an experienced camper might well be enough to make you capable of handling a single scout troop, but dealing with six or eight or a dozen scout troops at once would be quite difficult. Multiply the job again to the point where you're dealing with several dozen troops, and it becomes so complicated that the average person might well just melt down entirely if given the job without a lot of advance preparation.
____________________________

Now imagine that you are handling not ten or a hundred, but a thousand scout troops, each of ten to twenty kids. You have a whole army of scouts at this point. Don't ask me where you found them all, but the scale of your management problem is now colossal. That's about 10,000 people. If you line them up in neat columns along a road, they will stretch for miles. You now have the combined worries of a traffic cop, major event planner, and probably half a dozen other job descriptions I can't even identify.

Finding enough space to pitch thousands of tents is bad enough. You've got so many scouts that you probably can't fit them all in any one camping area, simply because you can't find an open field large enough for so many people. Finding firewood and water for thousands of campfires will be a problem even if you do have such a field. The scouts might carry their own food, but they sure don't carry their own water and firewood to last for days.

So, more realistically, you have to split the troops up among different campsites. And they probably started at different campsites too. Which means that not all your scout troops will be taking the same paths from their starting point to their destination. They may be hiking along different roads, or along different cross country paths if there are no roads.

What happens if the scouts follow two different paths to their destination and merge onto a single path at the same time? Now you may have a traffic jam- a crowd forms at the intersection, some troops decide to stop for a breather for a few minutes, and the next thing you know you're missing a troop or two in the confusion.

What happens if one of your troop leaders reads a map wrong and starts walking their troop off in the wrong direction? What if another troop follows them (this actually happens sometimes)? There are a hundred things that could go wrong, many of which I can't easily imagine because I have no experience with this. Even if every troop is led by an experienced camper, we all know that things can go seriously wrong on camping trips. Multiply all those possibilities by a thousand, and add in all the things that can go wrong when multiple groups of campers are interacting, and it will be a miracle if you get all the scouts into camp for the night at all without any getting lost in the dark.
__________________________

Assume you had days to plan this. Assume you are in constant communications with your troop leaders and with designated subordinates using radios. Assume you have your own staff of guys to carry maps and keep track of where everyone is for you. It still isn't going to be easy.

And that's the kind of problem a general in charge of an army's route march has to face. Note that we haven't said anything about enemy action. This is purely a problem of getting a lot of people to walk from one place to another, setting up a camp for the night at their destination.

On the one hand, the general isn't leading thousands of children- his individual soldiers are less likely to stop the whole troop for various reasons, and he has plenty of experienced corporals and sargeants mixed in with them to complement his officers. The officers have jobs and duties comparable to those of the scout troop leaders in the example.

On the other hand, the general has to worry about a lot of things that the leader of a mass Boy Scout migration does not. For example, in the field an army has many kinds of supplies the soldiers cannot carry for themselves or forage from the surrounding countryside, such as artillery shells. These supplies require vehicles for transport, and the vehicles (be they wagons or trucks) must be coordinated with the people on foot.

In even slightly hostile country, enemy action could throw his entire marching plan out of gear. The scout leader might not have to worry about what to do if the roads are flooded or if a hundred scouts run away and hide because they saw a bear. The general may have to worry about what happens if the bridge gets blown up by enemy guerillas or if a company of infantry gets pinned down by a sniper.

And so it goes...

Swordguy
2008-05-28, 11:24 PM
Day-um, Dervag...

http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n294/wolffe42/applause-1.gif

Deadmeat.GW
2008-05-29, 05:32 PM
French Foreign Legion still trains their troops for 30 miles a day across country for company to small brigade sized groups.

But they are crazy.

Most military units in Europe are supposed to be trained for roughly 25 miles a day on foot.

Build-up areas, woods and keeping in mind potential lack of air cover/superiority means most European armies still drill infantry to be able to do that.

Trucks can break down and be unsalvageable in build-up areas but mrk-I locomotive system, aka legs can still move around some of the most harsh and rough terrain imaginable with a fair degree of speed.

Dervag
2008-05-29, 08:18 PM
Day-um, Dervag...thank you. Thankyouverymuch. [bows]

MorkaisChosen
2008-06-01, 08:16 AM
Is it feasible to hold a large two-handed weapon such as a falchion in one hand?

I'm not talking about fighting with it, just holding it while not actually hitting anyone.

This is mainly for rasons of realism in game with actions and stuff...

Matthew
2008-06-01, 08:57 AM
Yes, but for how long depends on a myriad of factors. Few two handed swords exceed 6 lbs or so, with 8 lbs being the usual upper limit.

Dervag
2008-06-01, 10:35 AM
So the answer is probably "yes," if you're strong enough to use such a weapon effectively in the first place. Especially if you're allowed to lean the other end of the weapon against something solid like a wall or rest one end of the haft on the floor (for polearms and axes). With a hafted weapon, you can shift your one-handed grip near the balance point of the weapon and (probably) carry it for a very long time. With a sword or other weapon that has only a short hilt, it would be more demanding, but certainly possible for short periods.

Any weapon so heavy that a man in good physical condition need both hands just to hold will be hopeless in melee combat. It would be very slow and you'd tire quickly. If you've ever lifted weights, or even handled weights, imagine trying to swing the bar from a set of barbells. Unless you're the Incredible Hulk, your swings will be slow, you'll be poorly balanced while trying to swing, you'll need an incredibly long time to recover the bar and poise yourself for another swing, and there's a damn good chance you'll pull a muscle or otherwise injure yourself. Even if none of those things are too serious a problem, you will be utterly exhausted after a few swings, at which point a guy could probably kill you by wandering up to you with a stick because you won't even be able to lift your weapon to defend yourself.

Not good.

Now, the bar from a set of barbells weighs 20 kg. It's not too heavy to carry for a person in good condition, but it's sure too heavy to be an effective weapon, except maybe if all you're trying to get is ONE swing.

The basic point is that a weapon half, or even a quarter, that weight is going to be too hard to manage and too tiring to carry. And by the time you get to weights that are manageable in a battle where you have to carry the thing for hours and be able to swing it for minutes at a time, you're down to the point where you can certainly shift the weapon to your off hand if you need to pull a lever or something.

Fhaolan
2008-06-01, 12:10 PM
Is it feasible to hold a large two-handed weapon such as a falchion in one hand?

I'm not talking about fighting with it, just holding it while not actually hitting anyone.

This is mainly for rasons of realism in game with actions and stuff...

Absolutely. If you can't just hold it in one hand, even the big guys like pikes (providing you hold it at a mid-point for balance), it's too heavy to use effectively as a weapon in real combat conditions. Most two-handed weapon techniques involve one-handing the weapon at some point, if nothing else just to shift hand positions.

Spiryt
2008-06-01, 12:22 PM
Is it feasible to hold a large two-handed weapon such as a falchion in one hand?

I'm not talking about fighting with it, just holding it while not actually hitting anyone.

This is mainly for rasons of realism in game with actions and stuff...

Resuming what other guys nicely explained:
You are 10 years old and are able to hold 4 milk jugs in one hand - you can hold almost any two handed weapon.

Would you really want to fight with something you need two hands to even lift?

And my R-W Weapon Question :

Where the hell those stories about 50 pounds medieval swords came from? What do you guys think?

Swordguy
2008-06-01, 02:03 PM
Resuming what other guys nicely explained:
You are 10 years old and are able to hold 4 milk jugs in one hand - you can hold almost any two handed weapon.

Would you really want to fight with something you need two hands to even lift?


No.



And my R-W Weapon Question :

Where the hell those stories about 50 pounds medieval swords came from? What do you guys think?

Mainly Victorian museum curators. Here's how this works.

Dude has a pair of swords. He's got one for fighting that's plain and practical (3lbs) and one that symbolizes how badass he is that hangs on his wall back at the castle and looks cool. That one's all guilded and bejewelefied, and weighs about 25-30lbs because of all the crap stuck to it. But it looks really cool. The only time somebody touches it is to dust it or carry it in a victory parade where it just sits on his shoulder and looks pretty.

Dude dies in battle, and his family puts his favorite sword up on the wall as a memento next to the pretty one. Now, because dude lived as a warrior, his sword is notched, worn, and probably covered in sanded-down blood-rust stains. The other one, having never been used, sits on the wall and looks pretty.

500 years later, the family donates those swords to a museum. The curator looks at the swords and says to himself, "Self? I need to increase attendance so I can keep my museum open. What will the hitherto uninformed people want to look at more? A rusty, beat-up sword-thing? Or this pretty, guilded sword over here that will reflect the light in aesthetically pleasing patterns?" Naturally, he picks the one that's all pretty. He puts a plaque underneath the display saying "Sir Dude's Sword, circa 13th century. 30lbs".

Now, the public doesn't know crap about swords, so they go to the museum and look at the pretty sword sitting there. They read the plaque and say, "My goodness! That knight's sword weighed 30 pounds! That's so heavy, they must have barely been able to swing them!"

And THAT'S how we got this crap about swords (and armor, for that matter) being so stupidly heavy.

Crow
2008-06-01, 02:53 PM
...and then you get self-professed "bladesmiths" selling heavy blades (often stainless steel to boot!) under the premise that the "weight of the blade helps deliver the cut".

Which is of course NOT how such things work.

Spiryt
2008-06-01, 03:10 PM
...and then you get self-professed "bladesmiths" selling heavy blades (often stainless steel to boot!) under the premise that the "weight of the blade helps deliver the cut".

Which is of course NOT how such things work.

Heh, heh, swords made from carriage springs are still quite a hit in Poland.

I heard that such one handed "swords" could weight as much as 4 kg.

The main reason to make/buy them was as always money.

Fhaolan
2008-06-01, 09:16 PM
Now, the public doesn't know crap about swords, so they go to the museum and look at the pretty sword sitting there. They read the plaque and say, "My goodness! That knight's sword weighed 30 pounds! That's so heavy, they must have barely been able to swing them!"

And THAT'S how we got this crap about swords (and armor, for that matter) being so stupidly heavy.

This. So very much this.

Just like so much armour in museums are so very, very short. That's because a lot of the very pretty armor was made for kings when they were very young. They never got used beyond a few parades, so they survived intact and very, very pretty. Which would a museum rather display, a badly damaged and rusted, yet full-sized suit of true combat armor, or a heavily engraved and enameled suit of child-sized parade armor?

Oh, and there *were* a few real swords that were very heavy. But they were 'real' only in the sense that they were actually used to kill people. They were execution swords, and were only swung when the target was incapable of moving. :smallsmile: I don't really count those, personally, but some people do.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-06-02, 03:35 AM
Speaking of weight, how much did real mail hauberks (neck to knee, sleeves) weigh?

How about real full harness ( / plate armor) for a knight weigh?

How quickly did smiths (working with apprentices and the like, of course) actually forge these? One sword per day? One per week? I understand that nowadays they all take much longer to make? I suppose part of this is that swords are actually made "better", or at least more complicated?

Rasilak
2008-06-02, 04:52 AM
Speaking of weight, how much did real mail hauberks (neck to knee, sleeves) weigh?
The one I made weighs about 30kg. But it's 6in1 for the torso, so it's somewhat heavier than complete 4in1. (6in1 is about twice as heavy as 4in1 - and not 1,5x - since the angle of the rings is steeper).
That sounds much, mut it doesn't feel that heavy once you're wearing it.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-06-02, 05:19 AM
That's why I used the past tense. I don't really believe modern replicas are that good of a comparison. The techniques and materials are pretty different, aren't they?

Incidentally, is mail not harder to wear than actual harness of similar or greater weight, since it all rests on the shoulders rather than being strapped onto various parts of the body?

MorkaisChosen
2008-06-02, 05:23 AM
Speaking from personal experience (I know someone who's into actual sword-swinging), mail is b****y heavy if you haven't got a belt on. It weighs down a lot on the shoulders, but if you add a belt, that takes it onto the waist partly.

As long as the belt fits, of course. :smalltongue:

Storm Bringer
2008-06-02, 05:38 AM
Speaking of weight, how much did real mail hauberks (neck to knee, sleeves) weigh?

How about real full harness ( / plate armor) for a knight weigh?

How quickly did smiths (working with apprentices and the like, of course) actually forge these? One sword per day? One per week? I understand that nowadays they all take much longer to make? I suppose part of this is that swords are actually made "better", or at least more complicated?

well, i have a fairly reputable book at my side (made by the Royal Armouries, which naturally have the gear in question at hand), which gives the weight of a mid 14th century mail hauberk and aventail (knee length mail shirt with long sleeves and a seperate piece of mail that covers the top of the shoulders and neck that attached to the hemlet) as bing 30 1/2 Lbs. It notes that it dates form after the time that mail was the best form of armour, but points out that it was still very common at this time, so it could be considered repersentative of most mail armours.

It has plate armours in it, but neglects to mention weights (citing that the armours they show are either modern repilcas or missing bits), so no help thier.

as to swords forging length, I am lead to understand that the historical techinquies used in forging quality swords have died out along with the use of swords. doubtless these would have included tricks that quickened the process without seriously affecting the swords strengths.

that, or that most swords made in the past were made to a lower standard of 'quality' and thus finished quicker, so we are comparing modern artisan crafting with historical mass production, rather than historical artisan work

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-02, 06:38 AM
Would it be possible to develope a sub-machine gun which is capable of firing magnum handgun bullets? I'm curious because I don't think I've ever heard of any which fire that sort of ammunition.

MorkaisChosen
2008-06-02, 07:22 AM
Sorry, forgot to thank all the people who answered my question. I appreciate it...

Fhaolan
2008-06-02, 09:12 AM
Speaking of weight, how much did real mail hauberks (neck to knee, sleeves) weigh?

How about real full harness ( / plate armor) for a knight weigh?

How quickly did smiths (working with apprentices and the like, of course) actually forge these? One sword per day? One per week? I understand that nowadays they all take much longer to make? I suppose part of this is that swords are actually made "better", or at least more complicated?

Historically, maille hauberks weighed about 25+ lbs. The + is because there are a lot of variables in 'hem' length, ring size, tempering, and the precise weave used. I would say the average was probably about 30-35 lbs, but it's really hard to tell because the variability is so high.

Full harness... again, a lot of variables in the various styles. Itallian white harness (the style made specifically for export) of the 15th century weighed about 65 lbs in full. Modern repros of that same style weigh about 80+ lbs, because they use set thickness sheet steel rather than hand-forged pieces that thin out where protection isn't as important, and the historical suits are usually tempered where modern repros depend on thicker steel to do the same job.

As for the length of time to make a sword... to tell the truth I have no idea how long it took historically. I can tell you that a modern swordsmith can actually churn out swords very quickly, but few would. One, because many modern swordsmiths do stock removal rather than hand-hammer. They start with a solid bar of steel and grind off anything that isn't sword blade. :smallsmile: Even if they do hand-forge the blade, a lot don't do their own tempering. They send them out to a tempering specialist. But even with all those advantages, modern swordsmiths (and armorers) tend to be a bit sterotypically 'artsy' in temperment, only working when the 'mood' strikes and the moon is in the right phase, etc. :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2008-06-02, 09:32 AM
Historically, maille hauberks weighed about 25+ lbs. The + is because there are a lot of variables in 'hem' length, ring size, tempering, and the precise weave used. I would say the average was probably about 30-35 lbs, but it's really hard to tell because the variability is so high.

That sounds reasonable to me. A Roman shirt, I have seen estimated at about 20 lbs, but it's pretty short and lacks sleeves (though the shoulders are doubled). Another shirt of 20,000 rings was weighed at 15 lbs.




As for the length of time to make a sword... to tell the truth I have no idea how long it took historically. I can tell you that a modern swordsmith can actually churn out swords very quickly, but few would. One, because many modern swordsmiths do stock removal rather than hand-hammer. They start with a solid bar of steel and grind off anything that isn't sword blade. :smallsmile: Even if they do hand-forge the blade, a lot don't do their own tempering. They send them out to a tempering specialist. But even with all those advantages, modern swordsmiths (and armorers) tend to be a bit sterotypically 'artsy' in temperment, only working when the 'mood' strikes and the moon is in the right phase, etc. :smallbiggrin:

Oh, I actually saw something about this on some history show. The estimate was 7-12 days to produce a pattern wedled sword with a blade of about 30-36". That was a modern 'expert' using only 10th century tools.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-06-02, 09:45 AM
Oh, I actually saw something about this on some history show. The estimate was 7-12 days to produce a pattern wedled sword with a blade of about 30-36". That was a modern 'expert' using only 10th century tools.

Is that a modern-quality sword, or comparable to the kind you'd have seen men-at-arms using back in the day, or comparable to one an urban noble might have carried? Was the smith working alone or with apprentices or assistants?

Matthew
2008-06-02, 09:55 AM
Is that a modern-quality sword, or comparable to the kind you'd have seen men-at-arms using back in the day, or comparable to one an urban noble might have carried? Was the smith working alone or with apprentices or assistants?

According to my notes, he was working alone and the sword was pretty 'bog standard' [i.e. no special effort was involved]. It took 6 kilos of ore to make and the resulting blade weighed about 1.5 kilos (which is actually quite heavy, now I think on it, but maybe that was the total weight). However, exactly how common such a sword might be is another question. I would say that if you were buying the sword, this would be the average quality of a good one in the tenth century [i.e. not a bad one].

By the twelfth century, speed of manufacture had increased.

Dervag
2008-06-02, 10:43 AM
Would it be possible to develope a sub-machine gun which is capable of firing magnum handgun bullets? I'm curious because I don't think I've ever heard of any which fire that sort of ammunition.It would have to be quite heavy and would have horrendous recoil in automatic fire, but I don't see why not. I mean, quite a number of submachine guns are chambered for the .45 ACP round, which isn't all that much smaller or lighter.

Swordguy
2008-06-02, 11:08 AM
Would it be possible to develope a sub-machine gun which is capable of firing magnum handgun bullets? I'm curious because I don't think I've ever heard of any which fire that sort of ammunition.

Generally speaking, if the SMG can fire .38, it can fire .357 magnum. The Ingram Model 6, for example, can fire both.

The only SMG I can think of offhand that fires magnum rounds is the American-180, which is explicitly designed to fire the 22 Short Magnum rimfire in very long bursts to dig through body armor. It's got a capacity of up to 275 rounds in a flat, rotary pan magazine, and a rate of fire of 1500 rpm. Not what you meant, obviously, but it's an SMG that fires Magnum rounds nonetheless.

Mid-caliber magnum rounds simply don't offer enough over the ubiquitous 9mm Para to make it worth it, frankly.

Rasilak
2008-06-02, 02:27 PM
I would recommend Gerard Metral's "Do-it-yourself submachine gun". IIRC it's originally for 9mm, but it includes instructions to adapt the design to other calibers. (But I don't know if .357 magnum is one of them).
Anyways, you shouldn't expect to hit anything in automatic fire.

Crow
2008-06-02, 06:58 PM
Not that people hit much with automatic fire beyond a few meters anyways. At least the first (and maybe second or third) bullet will be on target.

Mike_G
2008-06-02, 07:26 PM
Not that people hit much with automatic fire beyond a few meters anyways. At least the first (and maybe second or third) bullet will be on target.


Depends on the weapon.

I can write my name with an MP5 on full auto. I've fired a Thompson, and can keep 3-5 round bursts on target, and if 3-5 .45 ACP rounds don't kill it, it deserves to live.

Crow
2008-06-02, 07:51 PM
What range? Standing still? Advancing? Advancing laterally? Shoot/No-shoots nearby?I'm not saying it's not possible to fire somewhat accurately in automatic, but that in practical experience, it's not always that easy.

Swordguy
2008-06-02, 08:22 PM
What range? Standing still? Advancing? Advancing laterally? Shoot/No-shoots nearby?I'm not saying it's not possible to fire somewhat accurately in automatic, but that in practical experience, it's not always that easy.

Assuming the Cutts Compensator is there, you can fire a Thompson with the butt on your chin and keep 3-5 round burst on target at 25 meters. There's WWII-era video of a weapons instructor doing just that. That's a .45 ACP round there...

Norsesmithy
2008-06-02, 08:52 PM
Generally speaking, if the SMG can fire .38, it can fire .357 magnum. The Ingram Model 6, for example, can fire both.

Mid-caliber magnum rounds simply don't offer enough over the ubiquitous 9mm Para to make it worth it, frankly.

Actually, SwordGuy, the Ingram Model 6 was chambered in .45 ACP, 9x19mm, or .38 Super (aka 9x23 Semi-Rimmed), not .38 special and .357 magnum.

And not every gun chambered in .38 special can fire .357 magnum.

I do believe that Ruger made SMG versions of their .357 mag. auto loading carbines back in the '50s, but they weren't very successful.

As for controlling firearms on full auto, certain weapons are easier than others, actually, I have found that the two .45 ACP subguns I have had the pleasure of using (a Thompson, and an Ingram MAC-10) are completely controllable, if you are using them correctly. With the Thompson (M1928), I could keep a 10 round burst on a silhouette target, and with the MAC, 5 rounds was doable (despite a 1200 round per minute fire rate). The Mini Uzi I fired was actually harder to control than the MAC, the recoil impulses were much harsher.

Edit to add, these were at ranges of approximately 30 yards.

The issue with FA accuracy is mostly the same as any combat accuracy issue, it is difficult to train a soldier to aim with the sights when the targets shoot back, they mostly just look down the barrel, which causes you to shoot high, with a bolt action, much less something with any significant muzzle climb.

Crow
2008-06-02, 09:02 PM
Assuming the Cutts Compensator is there, you can fire a Thompson with the butt on your chin and keep 3-5 round burst on target at 25 meters. There's WWII-era video of a weapons instructor doing just that. That's a .45 ACP round there...

I'd love to see that video. I've had amazing results with the AK74 (due to it's muzzle break), but then we're talking rifles, which is a different world in cartridge and application. The Mp5 is pretty managable (part of it's popularity), but I would consider it the exception rather than the norm.

Dervag
2008-06-02, 10:53 PM
Assuming the Cutts Compensator is there, you can fire a Thompson with the butt on your chin and keep 3-5 round burst on target at 25 meters.The Cutts Compensator is a sort of muzzle brake related thing, right?

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-03, 08:53 AM
Thanks for answering my question. Considering the Mac 10's "phonebooth gun" nick-name, I'm surprised that it was controllable.

Mike_G
2008-06-03, 10:35 AM
What range? Standing still? Advancing? Advancing laterally? Shoot/No-shoots nearby?I'm not saying it's not possible to fire somewhat accurately in automatic, but that in practical experience, it's not always that easy.


25 yards, standing still. Beyond 25 yards, you shouldn't be firing bursts, but taking single, well aimed shots.

SMG's aren't rifles. One isn't expected to be making hits at 100 yards on full auto. They're designed to perform in close combat, which is why they take a pistol round, are short barreled and fire bursts.

The MP5 is very easy to control. The Tommy gun is a fine weapon for its time, and a short burst aimed center mass will keep the rounds in the black at reasonable ranges. While I've used one, the M4 is not a real SMG, just a short rifle, so it doesn't invite comparison. Never fired the AKS74, but the AK47's muzzle dances quite a bit on auto.

Swordguy
2008-06-03, 02:03 PM
The Cutts Compensator is a sort of muzzle brake related thing, right?

More or less. It's a quad-slit variable-width compensator attached to the end of the barrel, designed to vent gas up and backwards (counteracting both recoil and muzzle climb). It's extremely effective, but was only used on the original Thompson 1928s. The subsequent editions (including the WWII-era M1 SMGs) usually didn't include them.

Crow: I'm looking for that video. I saw it on a History Channel special a few years back, so I'm pretty sure it's accurate (shocked the hell out of me when I saw it). I'll link it back here and PM it to you if I find it.

Norsesmithy
2008-06-03, 03:14 PM
Thanks for answering my question. Considering the Mac 10's "phonebooth gun" nick-name, I'm surprised that it was controllable.

One handed, without the suppressor, it is an absolute hose. With the suppressor, holding the front strap, it recoils firmly, but not snappily. The gun rises, but as a unit, not muzzle first.

I also am a fairly fit 220 lbs, and that is definitely a factor.

Joran
2008-06-03, 03:21 PM
So, all this talk about cartridges got me somewhat confused when I dived into the murky depths of Wikipedia.

What differentiates between a pistol round and a rifle round? Is it just an arbitrary designation for what the round was designed for? Or is there a fundamental difference between the two?

I know some pistol rounds find their way into carbines, which look like rifles...

P.S. Also, is there a substantial difference between submachine guns and assault rifles other than one fires pistol rounds and the other rifle rounds?

Storm Bringer
2008-06-03, 03:38 PM
So, all this talk about cartridges got me somewhat confused when I dived into the murky depths of Wikipedia.

What differentiates between a pistol round and a rifle round? Is it just an arbitrary designation for what the round was designed for? Or is there a fundamental difference between the two?

I know some pistol rounds find their way into carbines, which look like rifles...

P.S. Also, is there a substantial difference between submachine guns and assault rifles other than one fires pistol rounds and the other rifle rounds?

yhea. scale.

this picture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Many_bullets.jpg) shows fairly clearly the difference in the power powder charges between pistol and rifle bullets.

In short, a Rifle round has a much larger power charge and thus has much more power (and recoil).

Joran
2008-06-03, 04:38 PM
In short, a Rifle round has a much larger power charge and thus has much more power (and recoil).

Something like a .50 Action Express or a .454 Casull round seem rather powerful for pistol bullets and may carry powder charges in excess of some of the lower powered rifles. But yes, now that you say it, it does seem an obvious distinction.

Another thing, is there a reason that the rifle bullets, for lack of a better term, seem "pointier" than the pistol bullets?

Storm Bringer
2008-06-03, 04:45 PM
Something like a .50 Action Express or a .454 Casull round seem rather powerful for pistol bullets and may carry powder charges in excess of some of the lower powered rifles. But yes, now that you say it, it does seem an obvious distinction.

Another thing, is there a reason that the rifle bullets, for lack of a better term, seem "pointier" than the pistol bullets?

sort of.

Partially, it's just to do with the speeds involved, as rifle rounds are often supersonic (5.56 nato gets up to somthing like mach 3), while pistol rounds are mostly not, meaning they can afford to be 'less' aerodynamic.

Also, most rilfe rounds are jacketed (the lead has a sheath of copper on it), which aids armour penatration at the cost of leathality (less energy is transfered, and agianst some targets the bullet with 'over' penatrate and leave the target relatively unharmed). Many pistol rounds however are hollowpoint types that are designed to expand on impact, reducing penatration but increasing damage done.

I'm sure their more reasons, but it's 11pm and I'm not exactly at my brighest at this time.

Crow
2008-06-03, 05:13 PM
Swordguy: That vid would be great. I hope you find it =)

To expand on what Storm Bringer said, some pistol cartridges are supersonic (like the 9mm luger, generally using bullets 124 grains and less). There are heavier 9mm rounds that are subsonic too though. One of the big uses for subsonic rounds is suppressed fire.

You see, there are two types of suppression. Complete suppression (suppressor paired with subsonic ammo), and partial suppression (suppressor with supersonic ammo). The latter isn't terribly effective.

Most rifle rounds if slowed to subsonic speeds aren't effective because so much of their energy comes from velocity. If they aren't slowed down, they make too much noise as they bust through the sound barrier. Meanwhile, most pistol rounds are designed to be subsonic anyways, and have enough mass to dump an appreciable amount of energy despite the lower velocity. This makes them perfect for use with suppressors, and and SMG offers good middle ground between a rifle and a pistol in this application.

...Just throwing that out there.

Dervag
2008-06-03, 10:04 PM
More or less. It's a quad-slit variable-width compensator attached to the end of the barrel, designed to vent gas up and backwards (counteracting both recoil and muzzle climb). It's extremely effective, but was only used on the original Thompson 1928s. The subsequent editions (including the WWII-era M1 SMGs) usually didn't include them.Not surprised; sounds like a big pain to machine.

Has that technology ever been used on other automatic weapons, or only on the Thompson?

Norsesmithy
2008-06-04, 10:57 AM
I don't know of Cutts style compensators being used on any particular standard issued weapons, but similar muzzle devices are available for just about every type of firearm.

Rasilak
2008-06-05, 03:50 AM
Partially, it's just to do with the speeds involved, as rifle rounds are often supersonic (5.56 nato gets up to somthing like mach 3), while pistol rounds are mostly not, meaning they can afford to be 'less' aerodynamic.
Actually, the aerodynamics at subsonic speeds are quite different to the aerodynamics at supersonic speeds. So the shape of pistol/rifle rounds could just be optimal for their speed. (For subsonic speeds the optimal shape is just like a drop of water, whereas supersonic speed tends to favor "pointier" shapes)
However, the armor piercing vs. hollow point is probably also an issue.

pendell
2008-06-06, 05:12 PM
Booby traps. Enemies who want to kill you. Treasure underground. In a labyrinth.

D&D? No. Tunnel Rats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnel_rat) in the real world.

Whether you're talking about the Iron Triangle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Triangle_%28Vietnam%29) in Vietnam or the Caves of Tora Bora (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tora_Bora), it's a common feature of modern war that guerrilla insurgencies build bases, hospitals, storerooms, etc. deep, deep, underground. The Russians (http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/undrgrnd/undrgrnd.htm) had them too, or at least they did.

Which means there needs to be a special breed of soldier specially trained to infiltrate these underground complexes, avoid the traps, kill anyone still there, and leave with intelligence (maps, live officers, Osama Bin Laden, you name it).

The Tunnel Rats.

Which sounds suspiciously like a D&D dungeon crawl, if you ask me.

Which raises the following questions:

1) Are there any good real world guides to the way tunnel rats really operate?

2) Has anyone tried to incorporate this sort of thing into a D&D campaign? If so, how does it modify the campaign? Different house rules, modifiers, that sort of thing?

3) Would 'tunnel rat' make a prestige class? I'm thinking it would probably be some kind of fighter/rogue cross.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Thiel
2008-06-06, 06:52 PM
Booby traps. Enemies who want to kill you. Treasure underground. In a labyrinth.

D&D? No. Tunnel Rats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnel_rat) in the real world.

Whether you're talking about the Iron Triangle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Triangle_%28Vietnam%29) in Vietnam or the Caves of Tora Bora (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tora_Bora), it's a common feature of modern war that guerrilla insurgencies build bases, hospitals, storerooms, etc. deep, deep, underground. The Russians (http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/undrgrnd/undrgrnd.htm) had them too, or at least they did.

Which means there needs to be a special breed of soldier specially trained to infiltrate these underground complexes, avoid the traps, kill anyone still there, and leave with intelligence (maps, live officers, Osama Bin Laden, you name it).

The Tunnel Rats.

Which sounds suspiciously like a D&D dungeon crawl, if you ask me.

Which raises the following questions:

1) Are there any good real world guides to the way tunnel rats really operate?
Given the amount of military literature out there, I'd be surprised if there weren't at least one book dealing with the subject.


2) Has anyone tried to incorporate this sort of thing into a D&D campaign? If so, how does it modify the campaign? Different house rules, modifiers, that sort of thing?

3) Would 'tunnel rat' make a prestige class? I'm thinking it would probably be some kind of fighter/rogue cross.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

This really isn't the place to ask. Rules related questions aren't allowed.

Conners
2008-06-11, 04:25 AM
I was wondering how really thick armour would work. I have a homebrew race of medium-sized warriors (they're physically the same as humans) who I intend to wear very thick armour.

I intended it to be a foot-thick. They're strong enough to take the weight (the meta is stronger and lighter than steel). Would this work?

Thiel
2008-06-11, 05:10 AM
It wouldn't. At least not for someone with human-sized limbs. To illustrate why, try holding a shoebox or something similar to your chest and see how much you can move the other arm. And this doesn't take the armour on your arms into account.

Conners
2008-06-11, 05:51 AM
It wouldn't. At least not for someone with human-sized limbs. To illustrate why, try holding a shoebox or something similar to your chest and see how much you can move the other arm. And this doesn't take the armour on your arms into account. I was figuring this would be a problem... How thick could the armour get before it got impossible to move properly?

Edmund
2008-06-11, 08:24 AM
I was figuring this would be a problem... How thick could the armour get before it got impossible to move properly?

Well, it all depends on how much coverage you want them to have. For example you could have a very crude breastplate that's a foot thick, provided it was basically just a board on your chest that gave your arms free motion. If you're talking about fitted plate armour we're talking like 2 inches max in the joints, though as thick as you want elsewhere, given normal body proportions etc. Even at 2 inches though, you're talking about armour that's ~ 35 times thicker than 16 gauge steel.

I mean, What have the players got? RPG-27s?

1 foot is thicker than armor on a T-62 (242mm on turret front)

Seriously dude you've basically got guys wearing 200 pound anvils on their arms.

Fhaolan
2008-06-11, 09:35 AM
Re: Thickness of armor....

There is a practical limit to the thickness of armor due to the nature of articulation. Let's use two examples, 'soft' armors like maille, padded, etc., and 'hard' armors like full plate.

With flexible armors, you always have the problem of bunching. Say your arm is covered in normal cloth, such as with a shirt sleeve. Bend your elbow. See the folding of cloth there? Now, put on a winter coat that has much thicker cloth. See how there is more material bunched up in your bent elbow? The same effect happens with maille, padded armor, and such, but those materials are far more bulky than normal cloth. The thicker the materials, the more they bunch, and the less you can bend your arms, all the way up to being completely immobile.

With hard armors you still have the 'bunching' effect but it shows up differently. In order to fold your arm at the elbow, the armor has to be cut away on the inside of the elbow, so that the metal plates only contact each other once your arm is bent. Otherwise, you can't bend your arm properly. The thicker the plates, the more has to be cut away, or the less you can bend your arm. Say your forearm is 1' long (just pulling a number out a hat, I've not actually measured my forearm to see how long it is), and you decide that you can cope with only being able to bend your elbow 90 degrees. With 1' thick armor plates, the only way to make a 90 degree bend is to cut away all the armor from the wrist back to the elbow. Meaning, no armor at all on the inside of your arm.

Swordguy
2008-06-14, 02:06 AM
Got an odd firearm problem here. I've just had something happen that I've NEVER experienced or heard of before.

I'm shooting my Glock 19, and I pull the trigger. I get the distinct "pop" of the primer firing, but no "bang". Turns out there's NO POWDER inside the cartridge (factory cartridge, btw, not a reloaded one) - but the force of the primer was enough to send the slug about 1/3rd of the way down the barrel, engage the rifling, and...get stuck. I can't tamp it out with even a large amount of force.

So...what now? Gunsmith?

Crow
2008-06-14, 02:19 AM
Yep, you're in line for a trip to the gunsmith =) If you have a vise, you can use a piece of steel barstock down the barrel, and vise the two together. The bullet will reach the end of the barrel, and then you can work it the rest of the way.

Dervag
2008-06-14, 05:56 AM
Would anyone care to give an order of magnitude estimate for the likelihood of something like this happening?

Swordguy
2008-06-14, 07:35 AM
Would anyone care to give an order of magnitude estimate for the likelihood of something like this happening?

One in "big-fragging-number", approximately. I dunno - how many bullets are manufactured in the US per year? Probably something like 4-5 in that number.

OK. Gunsmith on Monday. Wanted to be sure there wasn't something I hadn't thought of.

Crow
2008-06-14, 10:27 AM
The chances go up quite a bit if you continue using ammunition from the same lot as the the powderless cartridge. =) Check the lot number and toss out any other stuff you have from the same lot.

xPANCAKEx
2008-06-14, 10:50 AM
and write a letter of complaint to the manufacturer too - even if you don't get anything but a corporate appology, at least they might recall a batch and save the same thing from happening to someone else

Thiel
2008-06-14, 02:51 PM
I've tried the same thing with a Finnbear rifle firing 30-06 Springfield. Luckily for me, the store paid the repair bill.

Neftren
2008-06-14, 05:29 PM
A question referring to blades. More specifically, fencing blades.

What would you call a Rapier or Epee... if you removed the crossguard and basket hilt? I'm kind of stumped as to what I would call it, hence why I'm asking what you guys would think. Any ideas?

Tsotha-lanti
2008-06-14, 05:37 PM
A question referring to blades. More specifically, fencing blades.

What would you call a Rapier or Epee... if you removed the crossguard and basket hilt? I'm kind of stumped as to what I would call it, hence why I'm asking what you guys would think. Any ideas?

A pointed metal stick?

Useless?

Pointless? (Hurhur.)

A canesword without a cane?

There's no name for such a weapon, since there's no good reason to take away the guard from a sword.

Thiel
2008-06-14, 05:43 PM
Possibly a super-sized stiletto. Not that it would be very useful.

Spiryt
2008-06-14, 06:33 PM
I think I have seen something almost without guard somewhere... but I can't find. Anyway, rapier without guard would be wicked acurate thruster, maybe even slighty better than normal rapier, but it would be quite handicapped when in classic rapier play.

Neftren
2008-06-14, 07:42 PM
There's no name for such a weapon, since there's no good reason to take away the guard from a sword.

Not true. Depending on the size and make of the weapon, removing the crossguard or basket hilt from a weapon would significantly reduce the weight of the weapon.

With some internal weighting techniques, you could rebalance the weapon and cut down on the weight. With a lighter weapon, you can swing faster and perform more efficient strikes that are less tiring.

Thiel
2008-06-14, 08:12 PM
Not true. Depending on the size and make of the weapon, removing the crossguard or basket hilt from a weapon would significantly reduce the weight of the weapon.

With some internal weighting techniques, you could rebalance the weapon and cut down on the weight. With a lighter weapon, you can swing faster and perform more efficient strikes that are less tiring.

Not really. Leaving aside the fact that your hand will be awfully exposed, you'd end up with a sword that either weighs the same (assuming you don't want to extend the handle) or a sword with a shorter and/or weaker blade.

Neftren
2008-06-14, 08:15 PM
Not really. Leaving aside the fact that your hand will be awfully exposed, you'd end up with a sword that either weighs the same (assuming you don't want to extend the handle) or a sword with a shorter and/or weaker blade.

Err... it'll be easier to hit, sure, I'll give you that. The point is to not let that happen though. I've done some experimentation with removing the crossguard on my own sword, and it's worked relatively well. The only issue is rebalancing the weapon, which I may just have a solution to. I'm not actually using this for fencing anyway. It's just a hypothetical question as to what the weapon would be called.

Dervag
2008-06-14, 08:24 PM
Not true. Depending on the size and make of the weapon, removing the crossguard or basket hilt from a weapon would significantly reduce the weight of the weapon.

With some internal weighting techniques, you could rebalance the weapon and cut down on the weight. With a lighter weapon, you can swing faster and perform more efficient strikes that are less tiring.Yes, but your hands would be reduced to hamburger in short order if you tried to fight with it in a duel against a competent opponent.


Err... it'll be easier to hit, sure, I'll give you that. The point is to not let that happen though.Unless you only fight people who are vastly less competent than yourself, how can you count on your own ability not to let that happen?


I've done some experimentation with removing the crossguard on my own sword, and it's worked relatively well. The only issue is rebalancing the weapon, which I may just have a solution to.How have you tested whether or not it worked, and under what conditions?


I'm not actually using this for fencing anyway. It's just a hypothetical question as to what the weapon would be called.I'm not sure it has a name because I'm not sure anyone ever used them long enough to get a classification.

Norsesmithy
2008-06-14, 08:40 PM
Got an odd firearm problem here. I've just had something happen that I've NEVER experienced or heard of before.

I'm shooting my Glock 19, and I pull the trigger. I get the distinct "pop" of the primer firing, but no "bang". Turns out there's NO POWDER inside the cartridge (factory cartridge, btw, not a reloaded one) - but the force of the primer was enough to send the slug about 1/3rd of the way down the barrel, engage the rifling, and...get stuck. I can't tamp it out with even a large amount of force.

So...what now? Gunsmith?

A squib will require some sort of penetrating break free oil. I have used oil of Wintergreen to good effect in the past. It is safe for all finishes, fast acting, and very slippery.

Ensure the gun is unloaded, and that you haven't got a round in the chamber.

Remove the barrel, pour a small amount of Oil of Wintergreen (available at a natural foods store) down the barrel from the muzzle end and let it sit for a minute or two, then place the rod on a bench, insert the rod into the breach of the barrel until it is firmly planted on the base of the bullet, and lightly rap the muzzle with the mallet until the bullet is flush with the muzzle. Then hold the barrel in your hand while you rap a few more times on the brass rod. It should drop right out.

Your local gunsmith will do the same thing, essentially.


Yep, you're in line for a trip to the gunsmith =) If you have a vise, you can use a piece of steel barstock down the barrel, and vise the two together. The bullet will reach the end of the barrel, and then you can work it the rest of the way.

NEVER USE STEEL IN A BARREL. It WILL mar the rifling and severely affect your accuracy. Not just your point of aim, but your ability to shoot tight groups.

ALWAYS use a softer metal like Brass or Bronze.

Don't even use aluminum, it tends to grab grit and score the barrel as well.

Crow
2008-06-14, 10:23 PM
Perhaps I should clarify; You don't run the barstock down the barrel "raw" as it were, but wrap it with a medium to prevent what you're talking about from happening. Chamois works pretty well. You're not using barstock of the same circumference (sp?) of the barrel, but considerably smaller. It only needs to be strong enough to force the bullet out.

Also, bear in mind he is using a glock, and putting oil in the barrel of a glock is one of the manufacturer-cited no-nos as well.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-06-15, 05:39 AM
Not true. Depending on the size and make of the weapon, removing the crossguard or basket hilt from a weapon would significantly reduce the weight of the weapon.

With some internal weighting techniques, you could rebalance the weapon and cut down on the weight. With a lighter weapon, you can swing faster and perform more efficient strikes that are less tiring.

Swords have guards because you need them to fence. Without a guard, pretty much every parry will end with you disarmed and unable to hold a weapon because of a serious wound to your hand.

I realize this may be difficult to fathom if you're only familiar with modern play-fencing, which bears no resemblance to actual rapier-fencing (being, to start with, in double time instead of single-time).

Further, the guard does a huge part of the balancing for weapons; if you take away the rapier's often heavy and elaborate guard, you have to cut off most of the blade and might as well get a stiletto. The reason good rapiers (which tend to be 4 feet long and heavier than actual sideswords or knight's swords) are so agile and maneuverable (even though, again, they work in single tempo), with great tip control, is the heavy balancing of the hilt. There is no way a rapier even 3/4 of an inch wide is going to be balanced and maneuverable without a guard - with the weight distributed more evenly along it's length, you'd lose tip control and find the sword harder to control in general.

Thiel
2008-06-15, 05:39 AM
Err... it'll be easier to hit, sure, I'll give you that. The point is to not let that happen though. I've done some experimentation with removing the crossguard on my own sword, and it's worked relatively well. The only issue is rebalancing the weapon, which I may just have a solution to. I'm not actually using this for fencing anyway. It's just a hypothetical question as to what the weapon would be called.

How are you going to rebalance it? I order to regain the balance you'll have to ad or shave of weight somewhere.

Fhaolan
2008-06-15, 11:39 AM
It's just a hypothetical question as to what the weapon would be called.

Call it whatever you like. Weapon terminology is no where near as fixed as everyone seems to think it is. Terms migrate all over the place depending on usage.

For example, the term glaive might mean a single-edged knife-like blade on the end of a long pole. However, it also means a similar weapon as above but specifically with a socket mount instead of a tang mount. Historically, it was also the term for a normal sword, as well as a broken sword blade that has been recovered and mounted on a stick as a peasant's weapon.

In each case proponents of one usage of the term 'glaive' will get incredibly upset with the way others use the term. I actually managed to catch two university professors get into a fist fight over whether glaives were always socketed or whether they could have tangs.

Now, to analyze your question specifically: The term rapier is purely English. Other countries used the terms spada, espada, espede, espee, epee, etc. The level of ornateness of the hilt is highly variable, including quarter hilts, full hilts, swept hilts, cup hilts, etc. Currently the concensus of weapon terminology appears to be that the name of the weapon is derived from the blade, not the hilt. If what you have is a blade that has edges, that is a 'rapier' blade. If the blade has no edges, it is an 'estoc' blade. There are terms for rapier-like blades that have partial edges on one or both sides, and terms for blades with only one edge. This is unimportant. If you mount a rapier blade on a swordcane grip (no guard at all), it's still a rapier. If you mount a cut-and-thrust blade (wider than a rapier), on an ornate full hilt, it's still a cut-and-thrust. If you put a cup hilt on a mace, it's still a mace (Yes, this happened in India.)

Norsesmithy
2008-06-15, 03:28 PM
Perhaps I should clarify; You don't run the barstock down the barrel "raw" as it were, but wrap it with a medium to prevent what you're talking about from happening. Chamois works pretty well. You're not using barstock of the same circumference (sp?) of the barrel, but considerably smaller. It only needs to be strong enough to force the bullet out.

Also, bear in mind he is using a glock, and putting oil in the barrel of a glock is one of the manufacturer-cited no-nos as well.

It is a manufacturer-sited no-no to fire it with oil in the barrel. Actually, you shouldn't fire any gun without running a dry patch first anyways.

And even with a chamois wrap, you still shouldn't put steel in a barrel, because the force needed to push out a squib is significant, and the chamois is liable to lose the fight trying to keep the steel from contacting the barrel.

Crow
2008-06-15, 04:57 PM
So long as the barstock you use isn't too thick, you can wrap multiple layers of chamois around it. You want the barstock to be smaller than the barrel (pencil-thick is good for most pistols) and you use the chamois to fill in the rest of the circumference so that the fit is fairly firm. What you end up with is a rigid piece of multi-layered chamois basically.

Swordguy
2008-06-15, 05:17 PM
Since I don't have access to barstock regardless, I'll go ahead and take it to my local gunsmith. I live in an apartment - not a machine shop.

That said, I disassembled the rest of the rounds from that box - no others were lacking powder. I've contacted the company, but I don't expect a response until tomorrow in any case. With any luck, I can expense the repair bill to them... :smallbiggrin:

Norsesmithy
2008-06-15, 09:45 PM
Good luck, regardless, Sword Guy.

Crow, what caliber is your handgun that you can get two or three layers of chamois around a "Pencil Sized" bit of bar stock? A Glock 19 barrel is .357 of an inch from groove to groove, and less than that in the lands, a piece of bar stock stiff enough to push a squib will be around 1/4th of an inch (.250 inch, and smaller than a pencil), minimum, giving you around 1/20th of an inch of clearance on either side. And it will still flex when you put force on it.

Crow
2008-06-15, 11:36 PM
Good luck, regardless, Sword Guy.

Crow, what caliber is your handgun that you can get two or three layers of chamois around a "Pencil Sized" bit of bar stock? A Glock 19 barrel is .357 of an inch from groove to groove, and less than that in the lands, a piece of bar stock stiff enough to push a squib will be around 1/4th of an inch (.250 inch, and smaller than a pencil), minimum, giving you around 1/20th of an inch of clearance on either side. And it will still flex when you put force on it.

I wrote a reply to this already, but I guess it got eaten by the forum.

Anyhow, this is the method that our gunsmith uses with our glock 22's...so .40 caliber. I am not certain on the actual size of the rod, but it looks pencil-sized, and the chamois is wrapped tightly around it in multiple layers and actually twists when it is run down the barrel. We have had a rash of squibs (using PMC for range ammo, and Federal for duty ammo), about 3 in the last year before switching to Federal at the range). 40 is a bit bigger than 9mm, but he manages to get a lot of wraps around that barstock, so I could see it working in a 9. I'll ask him and see what he thinks when he gets back on Monday.

Dervag
2008-06-16, 05:33 PM
At any rate, the best squib-clearing process for this Glock 19 might not be the same as the one Crow's gunsmith uses for a Glock 22, so it's probably best to take it to a professional who has (hopefully) seen it happen more than once in his life.

Construct
2008-06-16, 08:33 PM
I think I have seen something almost without guard somewhere... but I can't find.
The mid-17th century 'scarf sword' (fancifully, 'pillow sword') - an immediate precursor to the smallsword - had a minimal guard, just two short quillions (and perhaps a ring) to prevent the opponent's blade running up yours into your hand. Perhaps it was one of those you saw?

Avilan the Grey
2008-06-17, 02:08 AM
Hum...Agincourt...

Have you seen the latest research in the matter?

The so-called massive superiority in numbers of the French was grosly over-estimated, the Brits also had the high ground effectively with dug-in positions and siege equipment, the terrain was such that it formed a natural bottle neck and not least the mud was about a foot deep in parts of the battle field...

Charging, actually trundling slowly, across open ground where you are forced over a very small frontage with no way to spread out versus siege equipment and cavalry (especially heavy one) is going to be seriously reduced in effect and at a massive disadvantage.

The latest research I know have showed three things above all else:

1) It was the mud that was the biggest culprit; the difference of armored boots and cloth / leather boots walking in the field that wet day did give an incredibly large advantage to the English; on-site testing, with the same conditions, have showed that the effort of lifting a foot clad in metal armor was extremely hard work because the mud sucks on to the metal by a vacuum effect that does not occur with cloth (in the test, a grown man had to use both hands to PULL his foot out, after a number of steps).

2) A longbow arrow cannot penetrate plate armor, no matter how many times this myth is repeated. However, the fact that the English archers released approx. 50 000 arrows a minute made the mere possibility of an arrow sneak in between gaps in the visor, etc, fairly large.

3) The shape of terrain was ideal for funneling Frenchmen to their death; a good general should have known that, but again, the French could not really control their forces.

Swordguy
2008-06-17, 04:16 AM
The latest research I know have showed three things above all else:

...

2) A longbow arrow cannot penetrate plate armor, no matter how many times this myth is repeated. However, the fact that the English archers released approx. 50 000 arrows a minute made the mere possibility of an arrow sneak in between gaps in the visor, etc, fairly large.


This would matter a lot more if the French were mostly equipped with plate. Crecy was in 1346. That means your average knight is wearing a chain hauberk and Chausses, poleyns, and couters, and maybe leg cannons, along with various types of helm. Most of the outfit was of chain, which a longbow could certainly pierce.

EDIT: Never mind. I saw "Agincourt" and read "Crecy". Wrong battle in which the French got their collective arses kicked. In my own defense, though, the conditions (French charging an entrenched English line, longbow insanity, lots o' mud) and overall outcome were basically the same. Clearly I shouldn't be posting at 5am.

http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n294/wolffe42/inquis.jpg
IGNORE ME!

Avilan the Grey
2008-06-17, 08:31 AM
EDIT: Never mind. I saw "Agincourt" and read "Crecy". Wrong battle in which the French got their collective arses kicked. In my own defense, though, the conditions (French charging an entrenched English line, longbow insanity, lots o' mud) and overall outcome were basically the same. Clearly I shouldn't be posting at 5am.

IGNORE ME!

...And clearly the French should have remembered Crecy. :P

Spiryt
2008-06-19, 05:24 AM
Ok, since server stopped laging for a minute.

The quanity of different plate armors - I mean how big was the difference between some relatively cheap breastplate afforded by not rich XV century's guy, and superb, pricey Milano plate, bought by some idioticaly rich count?

Of course there had to be diffference, but would like to know what qualities of armor could be improved. Easiness of movement, beacuse of ideal adjustment to the wearer? Better deflecting? What else?

Swordguy
2008-06-19, 05:37 AM
Ok, since server stopped laging for a minute.

The quanity of different plate armors - I mean how big was the difference between some relatively cheap breastplate afforded by not rich XV century's guy, and superb, pricey Milano plate, bought by some idioticaly rich count?

Of course there had to be diffference, but would like to know what qualities of armor could be improved. Easiness of movement, beacuse of ideal adjustment to the wearer? Better deflecting? What else?

The biggest difference between "munition-grade" and really nice armor is that the nice stuff is more likely to be tempered, which improves its resilience drastically.

The next biggest difference will be in the protection/weight spectrum. Nice armor tends to be shaved down in places where people don't generally get hit with much force. This is most notable in jousting plate, where the left side of the armor is strengthened, and the back is shaved down a great deal or left off completely. Not-so-nice armor is more likely to be uniform throughout, which keeps costs down, but actually puts more protection than you might need into certain places on the body, creating unneeded encumbrance.

Other differences might include fluting (which add strength to the armor, like how an I-beam works, and helps to improve deflective qualities), a better fit (which will improve mobility), better quality steel (decrease maintenance and increase protective qualities), and more articulations (again, increasing mobility).

Both munition-grade and nice armor can be "proof" against gunfire - it's not always a matter of cost.

Spiryt
2008-06-19, 06:06 AM
Thanks.

In the topic of armor, I have been always wondering :

Could splint, scail, plated mail have some advantages compared to actual plate armor against some attacks? Or were all armors made of small pieces of steel just step in armor evolution, before plate kicked in?

I know that Polish Hussars were often using this (http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karacena) (I can't find english site about) instead of plate breasplates from one to few pieces (which are visible in the picture).

EDIT : To me, it could offer better protection against projectiles/powerful thrusts, as its certainly harder to punture small piece of metal with given thickness. Although blade could probably be deflected into gaps between scales/plates.

Swordguy
2008-06-19, 06:23 AM
Thanks.

In the topic of armor, I have been always wondering :

Could splint, scail, plated mail have some advantages compared to actual plate armor against some attacks? Or were all armors made of small pieces of steel just step in armor evolution, before plate kicked in?

I know that Polish Hussars were often using this (http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karacena) (I can't find english site about) instead of plate breasplates from one to few pieces (which are visible in the picture).

Scale mail has only a couple of advantages over plate. It's generally cheaper. It's a WHOLE LOT easier to repair. It can actually perform better against bludgeoning attacks than plate.

This last bit is due to the fact that the armor can flex and absorb a great deal of impact. The plates move and absorb impact, the ties stretch and absorb impact, and the fact that each individual plate is slightly curved outward means the curve must generally be bent back straight before it's penetrated (which absorbs impact).

There's some evidence that scale can be better against bullets. If each scale is forged to proof-thickness, then each scale can take a bullet hit without compromising the surrounding structure (this design principle is also found in modern Dragon Skin bullet-resistant armor). Further, each scale is more easily replaced, as opposed to the major work required to patch a bullet hole with equivalent protection in plate armor. The downside is that this setup has redundant protection (overlaps in the scale) which means increased weight over a single piece of plate.

Spiryt
2008-06-19, 06:40 AM
Many thanks.

This last bit is due to the fact that the armor can flex and absorb a great deal of impact. The plates move and absorb impact, the ties stretch and absorb impact, and the fact that each individual plate is slightly curved outward means the curve must generally be bent back straight before it's penetrated (which absorbs impact).

Hmm, this is interesting, I always though that against bludgeoning trauma plate was the best, as force of impact was dispersed on large surface of metal, and plate also dented in case of sufficiently strong blow, so another great amount of energy was wasted on denting plate, rather than cracking your poor ribs.

While small pieces of metal don't have continuous connection with each other, so quite a lot of energy concentrates on surface below them.

Of course I can be very wrong, I'm not very good in physics, but it seems logical.

Price/reapair are of course problems of plate, I was wondering about protection.

Edmund
2008-06-19, 07:25 AM
Scale mail has only a couple of advantages over plate. It's generally cheaper. It's a WHOLE LOT easier to repair. It can actually perform better against bludgeoning attacks than plate.

This last bit is due to the fact that the armor can flex and absorb a great deal of impact. The plates move and absorb impact, the ties stretch and absorb impact, and the fact that each individual plate is slightly curved outward means the curve must generally be bent back straight before it's penetrated (which absorbs impact).

That sounds rather iffy. Scale armour and especially its close cousin, lamellar, aren't really designed to flex in that direction. As Spiryt noticed, you still end up with less energy dispersal than with plate armour.

Scale and lamellar are way cheaper than plate, and do not require as high-quality iron, which is why they are highly popular amongst mercenaries in the West, for example the brigandine, which is a type of scale armour, and regions without a strong supply of adequate iron, such as Japan and the Russian and Mongol steppe.

Mail armour also requires finer iron than that necessary for production of scale or lamellar, but that's another discussion.

Fhaolan
2008-06-19, 12:32 PM
While on the topic of scale and lamelar, it is interesting that metal scale and lamelar armours are the heaviest armor I have ever dealt with. Far more than maille and plate. While they are tiny little plates, they add up fast, and the overlap means you need more 'area' of plates to cover a specific 'area' of surface while providing similar protection.

Especially lorica plumata, which I have an almost completed hauberk of. (Yes, I know the name is not historically accurate. But the armor is. Apparantly we don't know what it was actually called, because it was a rare form of lorica squamata and may have shared the same name even though there are significant structural differences between them). Whoever came up with the idea of having a full hauberk of maile, and then attaching a full hauberk worth of scales to it (rather than a lighter leather backing), was a lunatic. :smallbiggrin:

Storm Bringer
2008-06-19, 03:16 PM
You may be amused to note that one of the anatolian (turkey before the turks turned up) names for very heavy cav (i.e. the local word for 'cataphracts') is related linguistically to thier word for kiln, or oven, presumably a comment on what the wearing of head to toe scale mail in a turkish summer was like.

Adlan
2008-06-22, 03:54 AM
2) A longbow arrow cannot penetrate plate armor, no matter how many times this myth is repeated. However, the fact that the English archers released approx. 50 000 arrows a minute made the mere possibility of an arrow sneak in between gaps in the visor, etc, fairly large.


Having seen an Arrow peirce reproduction armour I can denny your first statement, to say that A Longbow Arrow Cannot penetrate plate is like saying a Longbow arrow always penetrates plate. The Argument goes back and forth, and mainly focuses on the various flotsam and jetsam the archeological record finds, and the debate over Medieval Archers Strength. We've hacked it back and forth in the old threads, so check those if you wanna bring it up again (I'm always up for a good debate now my exams are over). And of course, what period armour we are talking about, as it gets thicker over time, as a reaction to the threat of bows, and guns.


The Real cause of Defeat at Agincourt is the difference in Mindset. The English were a paid army, and they wanted to win.

The French were a feudal force, and they wanted to win glory.

Deadmeat.GW
2008-06-22, 09:06 AM
I think you should read the comment about not penetrating plate more in the way that these would very, very rarely do any injuries that were life threatening.

But we are talking full-plate and it has been noted that a lot of the knights did not actually wear complete full-plate.
It was simply extremely expensive so the less well-off knights had to make due with partial plate and chain to cover the rest.
And in that situation the Longbow did have a chance to pierce in a significant way a reasonable amount of the time.

The horses on the other hand...

Full plate barding was even less common then full-plate for troops.

Injuring a lot of horses by raining arrows on top of them is going to cause issues.

As for the French wanting to win glory...the knights and the nobles perhaps...the rest...No way were they looking for Glory, they were more interested in living.

Fhaolan
2008-06-22, 11:23 AM
As for the French wanting to win glory...the knights and the nobles perhaps...the rest...No way were they looking for Glory, they were more interested in living.

Wasn't the ratio of knights/peasants for the French much higher than for the English in those battles? And I mean, much, much higher?

Storm Bringer
2008-06-22, 01:01 PM
Wasn't the ratio of knights/peasants for the French much higher than for the English in those battles? And I mean, much, much higher?

To my knowledge (which admitedlly lacks hard evidence) the french didn't bother to include thier pesant levies in thier army counts, as their opinion of them was that low.

at any rate, the listed forces at crecy and agincourt, according to the Wiki:
Crecy:
english:
4,000 men at arms
7,000 archers
5,000 spearmen

french:
74,000 cav (It's the figure they give, but does that sound right? seems a litte high to me)
6,000 Genoese crossbowmen

Agincourt:
6,000 english, 5/6th archers

20,000-30,000 french, 1/6th crossbowmen, one half dismounted men at arms, 1/3rd mounted men at arms. I know the total is disputed, but we're argueing about the internal proportions, so we'll forget about them.


judging by these two, it is safe to say that the French used Men at arms in greater numbers than they did archers.

Spiryt
2008-06-22, 01:04 PM
Those numbers seem way to hiiiigh. 74 thousands? In medieval army ?

Storm Bringer
2008-06-22, 01:24 PM
that's what the wiki says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cr%C3%A9cy)

I completly aggree that 74,000 horsemen seems like a typo or a lie, but it's not challenged on the page, so either their is good reason to belive it or thier it no good reason NOT to belive it.

Matthew
2008-06-22, 03:16 PM
Wouldn't be surprised to find that sort of number appearing in a medieval text. Still, you should be able to find some translated sources here: http://www.deremilitari.org/



Then he ordained three battles: in the first was the young prince of Wales, with him the earl of Warwick and Oxford, the lord Godfrey of Horcourt, sir Raynold Cobham, sir Thomas Holland, the lord Stafford, the lord of Mohun, the lord Delaware, sir John Chandos, sir Bartholomew de Burghersh, sir Robert Nevill, the lord Thomas Clifford, the lord Bourchier, the lord de Latimer, and divers other knights and squires that I cannot name: they were an eight hundred men or arms and two thousand archers, and a thousand of other with the Welshmen: every lord drew to the field appointed under his own banner and pennon. In the second battle was the earl of Northampton, the earl of Arundel, the lord Ros, the lord Lucy, the lord Willoughby, the lord Basset, the lord of Saint-Aubin, sir Louis Tufton, the lord of Multon, the lord Lascelles and divers other, about an eight hundred men of arms and twelve hundred archers. The third battle had the king: he had seven hundred men of arms and two thousand archers. Then the king leapt on a hobby, with a white rod in his hand, one of his marshals on the one hand and the other on the other hand: he rode from rank to rank desiring every man to take heed that day to his right and honour. He spake it so sweetly and with so good countenance and merry cheer, that all such as were discomfited took courage in the seeing and hearing of him


http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Crecy.html

Storm Bringer
2008-06-22, 03:45 PM
hmm....

I was under the impression that an army of that size was beyound the logistic abilities of the time to substain in the field. It appears i was wrong.

Glyde
2008-06-23, 11:52 AM
What would be the stats on the front of a bulldozer? Or even better, any stats an Awakened Bulldozer would get?

... What?

Swordguy
2008-06-23, 03:05 PM
What would be the stats on the front of a bulldozer? Or even better, any stats an Awakened Bulldozer would get?

... What?

Umm...a specific system would help us to determine specific stats. As would this being in Homebrew.

Glyde
2008-06-23, 03:07 PM
Ah, I misunderstood the use of this topic. Oh well.

(Also, D20 Modern if someone is still willing to tell me <_<)

Dervag
2008-06-23, 10:43 PM
Ah, I misunderstood the use of this topic. Oh well.

(Also, D20 Modern if someone is still willing to tell me <_<)Start the thread in Homebrew, and you'll find people far better at statting up Awakened Bulldozers than anyone here is likely to be.

AslanCross
2008-06-24, 07:18 AM
Re: Shield Bearers/Shield Mates.
What were they, really? Did they just hold the shield for a stronger warrior, or did they actually hold the shield up and act as a "meat shield" (for lack of a better term) for the warrior they work for? Or am I totally getting this wrong?

Avilan the Grey
2008-06-24, 08:26 AM
Having seen an Arrow peirce reproduction armour I can denny your first statement, to say that A Longbow Arrow Cannot penetrate plate is like saying a Longbow arrow always penetrates plate. (snip)

The data I saw focused on the metal quality: a medieval arrow head from the time of that battle (even the "plate piercing" shaped ones) was so much softer than a plate armor, that the strength of the archer didn't matter: The arrowhead would bend on impact and the arrow would just bounce / fall off.
Of course there could be a dent, but not deep enough to cause real pain.

Now, this was the most common metal quality for that type of arrows. Some English archers might have actual steel arrowheads instead of iron, but not that many.

Avilan the Grey
2008-06-24, 08:31 AM
Agincourt:
6,000 english, 5/6th archers

20,000-30,000 french, 1/6th crossbowmen, one half dismounted men at arms, 1/3rd mounted men at arms. I know the total is disputed, but we're argueing about the internal proportions, so we'll forget about them.

As far as I remember there is one big flaw with using crossbow men combined with undisciplined nobles on horseback: the crossbowmen cannot shoot over them; If the noblemen gets in the way, the crossbowmen must hold their fire. And that is one of the things that happened that day; the first line of nobles, those who broke orders and formations and stormed off against the English, caused the crossbowmen to have very little to do compared to the English archers.

Matthew
2008-06-24, 08:55 AM
The data I saw focused on the metal quality: a medieval arrow head from the time of that battle (even the "plate piercing" shaped ones) was so much softer than a plate armor, that the strength of the archer didn't matter: The arrowhead would bend on impact and the arrow would just bounce / fall off.
Of course there could be a dent, but not deep enough to cause real pain.

Now, this was the most common metal quality for that type of arrows. Some English archers might have actual steel arrowheads instead of iron, but not that many.

As Adlan says, this has been discussed a number of times before. I know it is a pain in the ass to dig back through threads, but otherwise we are just retreading old ground. If you have access to data you are willing to share (or can recommend some sources) as to the quality of arms and armour at Agincourt and Crecy, then please do. Otherwise, we're just blowing smoke back and forth (by which I mean unsubstantiated claims).

Mike Loades seems to think arrows can penetrate plate armour, and is one amongst many experts to have carried out tests on the subject; the basic results of his televised experiments can be found here (http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/W/weapons/longbow1.html). To be clear, I am not saying that his results are definitive (far from it, television history is fraught with peril), but I will say that this is an area of current academic contention with no clear answer.

Storm Bringer
2008-06-24, 12:26 PM
Re: Shield Bearers/Shield Mates.
What were they, really? Did they just hold the shield for a stronger warrior, or did they actually hold the shield up and act as a "meat shield" (for lack of a better term) for the warrior they work for? Or am I totally getting this wrong?

I according to wiki, the sheild bearer was "A lightly armored soldier who often accompanied a soldier of a higher rank with a protective shield". the example they give were commanders. So, they were meat sheilds, effectivly, though doubtless they were as skilled in combat as any other warrior.

Fhaolan
2008-06-24, 04:32 PM
I'm aware of several different 'versions' of shield bearers in history, and sometimes the term gets mixed up in and around it.

One version is the simple 'bearer'. Basically, it's a very young man who's entire job is to carry the shield, and any other weapons, so that the 'real' warrior doesn't need to. This kind of shield bearer doesn't go into battle himself, unless absolutely necessary.

Another is the pike and shield bearer. This kind is a normal soldier with a large shield as well as a sword or a short spear, who's job is to be the front line in a pike formation, kneeling under the porcupine of spikes.

Then there's the tower shield guy, an almost unarmored soldier who's entire job is the carry a very heavy two-handed shield out on to the field as a part of a serious shield wall.

And finally, there's the one everyone thinks of. Basically, this guy's job is to carry, and use, sword and shield as a kind of bodyguard for a person who's required to deal with a two-handed item of some sort, like a halberd, or a bride... which might be considered a weapon on her own, depending on the individual. :smallbiggrin:

Dervag
2008-06-24, 11:03 PM
Yeah. Many weapons and shields are big, heavy awkward, and/or pointy. All of which make them hard to carry. Elite warriors don't want to tire themselves out carrying morning stars and kite shields and giant spears all day. So they hire a random lackey with big muscles to do it for them.

Coincidentally, this is also a good way for a guy with big muscles to get on the good side of some elite warriors, hopefully picking up some combat training and working his way up through the ranks from "lackey" to "grunt."

Avilan the Grey
2008-06-25, 01:00 AM
As Adlan says, this has been discussed a number of times before. I know it is a pain in the ass to dig back through threads, but otherwise we are just retreading old ground. If you have access to data you are willing to share (or can recommend some sources) as to the quality of arms and armour at Agincourt and Crecy, then please do. Otherwise, we're just blowing smoke back and forth (by which I mean unsubstantiated claims).

Mike Loades seems to think arrows can penetrate plate armour, and is one amongst many experts to have carried out tests on the subject; the basic results of his televised experiments can be found here (http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/W/weapons/longbow1.html). To be clear, I am not saying that his results are definitive (far from it, television history is fraught with peril), but I will say that this is an area of current academic contention with no clear answer.

I understand your point, but looking at that link, especially this passage:
"In tests against a steel breastplate, a bodkin-tipped arrow would dent the armour at 80m (260ft), puncture it at 30m (98ft) and penetrate right through plate and underlying doublet coat to the flesh at 20m (65ft)." makes me think we are arguing more or less the same point. I am willing to accept this data without debate although I agree; TV-history can be misleading.

If I read this correctly it does support my point of the actual events though: Arrows shot straight at target would behave as above, but the vast majority of arrows fired that day was shot in volleys, as in most medieval battles. This makes the shots equivalent to the longer distance shots above.

So, in conclusion(?): Arrows fired from a longbow, with a sufficient strong archer, could puncture or penetrate a good plate armor when aimed directly at it and shot at close or medium distance.
However, this is not how most arrows on a battlefield was fired, they were fired at medium to long distance in volleys, which means the speed of the arrow was closer to that of a free-falling object, not the maximum speed possible by being propelled by the bowstring.

So we were all being more or less correct :elan:

Fhaolan
2008-06-25, 10:32 AM
So we were all being more or less correct :elan:

Which is usualy how these kinds of discussions wind up. Everyone is usually right, within the specific assumptions of their conclusion. The problem is drawing those assumptions out and putting them on display so there can be true comparisons. :smallsmile:

Another_Poet
2008-06-25, 11:15 AM
I love that this thread exists :)

Okay, I have a question about blowguns.

First off, let me state how friggin' sick to death I am of seeing movies, cartoons and other media show blowgun wielders inhaling their own dart and getting poisoned by it. :smallannoyed:

I'm assuming that, like any other weapon, there is a basic method of not hurting yourself with it, and that this method is explained at the very early stages of training (like it's the first thing you tell your 4 year old when you let him hold granddad's heirloom parrot-hunting blowgun). What I'm not clear on is how blowgunners are trained to prevent dart inhalation. I have two guesses:

1) There is a small crossbar or guard on the mouthpiece so that the dart physically cannot fit through. It is impossible to suck a dart through that end no matter what you do. (This would require blowguns to be muzzle-loaded, or else a very creative mouthpiece.)

2) "Tongue control" is taught as the very first step in blowgunning. I.e., you cover the mouthpiece with your tongue, you breathe in, you take off your tongue and then you blow. Reload and repeat.

Does anyone know enough about blowguns to know which method is used? Or if it's something altogether different I never thought of?

thanks
ap

Swordguy
2008-06-25, 01:39 PM
I love that this thread exists :)
1) There is a small crossbar or guard on the mouthpiece so that the dart physically cannot fit through. It is impossible to suck a dart through that end no matter what you do. (This would require blowguns to be muzzle-loaded, or else a very creative mouthpiece.)

2) "Tongue control" is taught as the very first step in blowgunning. I.e., you cover the mouthpiece with your tongue, you breathe in, you take off your tongue and then you blow. Reload and repeat.


Well, first there's the issue that both sides of a projectile are rarely sharp. The back end is likely to have stabilizing elements (feathers, etc) attached. Further, a sharp back end would actually hurt performance. You want a big, blunt back end that's as close to the diameter of the blowgun as possible to catch the air. Any air that leaks around the dart is wasted propulsion.

Past that, both of the methods you describe are used. #1 is slightly higher tech, but certainly within the reach of anyone who can bore a hole through the sides of the pipe and glue a stick in there.

By the way, congratz. This is the 3rd incarnation of this thread I've been in, and this is the first question regarding blowguns that I recall.

Another_Poet
2008-06-25, 01:56 PM
Well, first there's the issue that both sides of a projectile are rarely sharp. The back end is likely to have stabilizing elements (feathers, etc) attached. Further, a sharp back end would actually hurt performance. You want a big, blunt back end that's as close to the diameter of the blowgun as possible to catch the air. Any air that leaks around the dart is wasted propulsion.

Past that, both of the methods you describe are used. #1 is slightly higher tech, but certainly within the reach of anyone who can bore a hole through the sides of the pipe and glue a stick in there.

By the way, congratz. This is the 3rd incarnation of this thread I've been in, and this is the first question regarding blowguns that I recall.

Yeah, I figured it might be a first. To continue the question:

How often are blowdarts (historically or currently, in cultures that actually use blowguns) tipped with poison? I imagine they are used mostly for hunting small game, so poison would be undesirable for that - but when used in wearfare, is a non-poisoned dart wound a significant injury that can disable an opponent, or is a blow dart only a minor annoyance (assuming it doesn't hit eye or groin) without some poison smeared on it?

Any ideas?

ap

Fhaolan
2008-06-25, 04:08 PM
Yeah, I figured it might be a first. To continue the question:

How often are blowdarts (historically or currently, in cultures that actually use blowguns) tipped with poison? I imagine they are used mostly for hunting small game, so poison would be undesirable for that - but when used in wearfare, is a non-poisoned dart wound a significant injury that can disable an opponent, or is a blow dart only a minor annoyance (assuming it doesn't hit eye or groin) without some poison smeared on it?

Any ideas?

ap

I can tell you from personal experience the blowgun darts hurt. But unless you get it in a critical spot (eye, groin, back of knee, etc), that's all it is, an annoyance. The hole it makes seals too quickly, and isn't deep enough to really do serious damage. You do have to pull them out, though, and sometimes they're barbed, so it's a lot like getting a big fishhook stuck in you. It hurts a *lot* with the barbed ones, but in a combat situation it's not going to slow you down much. :smallsmile:

Also note that some poisons are subject to Mithridatism, where you can dose yourself with ever-increasing amounts of the poison to build up an resistance to it. The same effect happens with many modern medicines, pesticides, herbicides, etc. So it's entirely possible that those people who handle blowdart poison a lot would not be as badly affected by the poison as would a 'fresh' target.

Deadmeat.GW
2008-06-26, 01:44 AM
that's what the wiki says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cr%C3%A9cy)

I completly aggree that 74,000 horsemen seems like a typo or a lie, but it's not challenged on the page, so either their is good reason to belive it or thier it no good reason NOT to belive it.

Except that the numbers given in some other texts for the whole of the French Nobility is in the region of about 100,000 male adults of arm-bearing age...(and we are talking 14 to 16 years and older as 'adults' here and the population of France as whole was somewhere in the region of 16 odd million people according to some sources so that is an awful lot of 'nobles' Edit: Claims of 28 million people on some accounts also exist and a total of 300,000 nobels of which 80,000 were of noblesse d'epee or old noble houses. Given that that would be all nobles...not that good for some of the claims that almost all of the adult lineage would show up in a single battle. ).

Having 74,000 horsemen in an army and given that the texts with these numbers come from the English side of things all of these sound exceedingly suspect.

Even if of the 74,000 only one third were actually nobels (i.e. knights) that would be an enormous army, lets not forget that France as we know it today and then is totally different.
A vast chunk of the French military might was concentrated on keeping the low countries with its rich (and rather fractious) cities under controll.
If we go off the Flemish accounts that almost a third of the French nobels of the north were fighting regularly in Flanders, we remind ourselves that the northern part of France was actually closer to were the English were running around then say the Provence, the picture of having that many nobels on one battlefield with all the issues caused with medieval roads, seasons for farming and such is not really realistic.

If there were that many horsemen at that fight they could not have physically fit in the battlefield given by the records...

Packed like sardines would be an understatement.

It is far more likely that the French historians are correct and that the English were not in fact outnumbered by over 5 to 1 (as going of those numbers) but 'merely' 3 to 1 (and if you think about it that is still a damn impressive feat of arms).

Crecy was not anything but a incredible loss for the French but it got hyped out of all proportion through the years.

French cavalry was supposed to by about 1/3 nobility (and we are using nobility quite loosely in some cases, a simple knight is a noble for instance) and 2/3 mounted men-at-arms.
The difference in gear was quite big but men-at-arms were professionals and equiped pretty well.
Not full plate or such but they wore mail and heavy padded armours (leathers and such in some cases) which were quite effective given the stories on the opposite side about how many of them survived being hit by arrows.
Going of the stories on the French side I would actually say that being killed by arrow fire was not the main cause of deaths in a lot of the stories.
Being dismounted by arrow fire however was...

The lowest rank of nobels often did not have a mounted retainer (i.e. man-at-arms) so they would not provide mounted troops to add to the figure.
It is vastly more likely that half of the mounted man-at-arms were in fact in employ of like a tenth of the nobels.

Let us also look at this little gem:

Agincourt:
6,000 english, 5/6th archers

20,000-30,000 french, 1/6th crossbowmen, one half dismounted men at arms, 1/3rd mounted men at arms. I know the total is disputed, but we're argueing about the internal proportions, so we'll forget about them.


Take a carefull count of how many of those French are knights...
According to these figures none.
Yet we know that the English killed knights and nobles in some substantial numbers.
Current evaluations from English and French historians working together also reduce the amount of French troops substantially to about 15,000 to 18,000.
Of course this is being contested by some people because the English had to be outnumber at least by 5 to 1 to make it suitably epic.

Being outnumbered by 2 to 3 when you are effectively a siege train moving from one place to another is in my opinion already epic enough.

In both cases the English accounts (and being the victors they seem to be pretty much the only ones that have a 'full' picture of the battle) show the English as having fought against 5 times their numbers, with inferiour numbers by far in mounted troops, ground troops and all yet when we actually check those losses the French took according to English the French somehow had over a quarter of the regional male population that got wiped out and the most active and productive quarter at that.
And this would have happened several times yet we do not see this wholesale dying out of towns or masses of abandoned villages in the historic annals.

I am going to go with the feeling that the English being masters of Propaganda have pulled another one over the rest of us.
The Inquisition doing what the English claim, not actually backed-up by any historical records elsewhere...
I don't think that they would hesitate to double the numbers opposing them after a victory (or loss ) to make their feats even more incredible.

Edit:
For Crecy, remember that according to the Wiki there were 15,000 Genoese crossbowmen also in one place and 6,000 in another...


French chronicler Froissart gives an account of the action:
ď The English, who were drawn up in three divisions and seated on the ground, on seeing their enemies advance, arose boldly and fell into their ranks...You must know that these kings, earls, barons, and lords of France did not advance in any regular order...There were about fifteen thousand Genoese crossbowmen; but they were quite fatigued, having marched on foot that day six leagues, completely armed, and with their crossbows. They told the constable that they were not in a fit condition to do any great things that day in battle. The earl of AlenÁon, hearing this, said, "This is what one gets by employing such scoundrels, who fail when there is any need for them." [7]

That changes the amount of mounted troops dramatically already.

Matthew
2008-06-26, 05:44 AM
Having 74,000 horsemen in an army and given that the texts with these numbers come from the English side of things all of these sound exceedingly suspect.

I think we're all agreed as to that. :smallwink:



It is far more likely that the French historians are correct and that the English were not in fact outnumbered by over 5 to 1 (as going of those numbers) but 'merely' 3 to 1 (and if you think about it that is still a damn impressive feat of arms).

If that.



French cavalry was supposed to by about 1/3 nobility (and we are using nobility quite loosely in some cases, a simple knight is a noble for instance) and 2/3 mounted men-at-arms.

At the time of Crecy it's very questionable that there would have been much in the way of 'simple knights'. Many who would have been considered knights a hundred years earlier would have forgone the ceremony as being too expensive and the status as having too many (expensive) obligations.



The difference in gear was quite big but men-at-arms were professionals and equiped pretty well.

Always important to remember.



The lowest rank of nobels often did not have a mounted retainer (i.e. man-at-arms) so they would not provide mounted troops to add to the figure.
It is vastly more likely that half of the mounted man-at-arms were in fact in employ of like a tenth of the nobels.

Aye, that's the difference between a knight bannerette, and a knight.



[B]Agincourt:
6,000 english, 5/6th archers

Don't forget that Froissart disputes even this figure (5,200 Archers, 2,300 Men at Arms, and 1,000 'Welsh').

Even in 1250 the number of knights to none knights in a french host was something like 10:1.

Storm Bringer
2008-06-30, 10:35 AM
Okay, just a quick and i hope simple question:

What is the reason why the vast majority of full-on sniper rilfes are bolt action, as opposed to semi-auto? I have been told that you can make them more accurate, but I'd like to hear form those who know about this sort of thing.

LatemYvaeh
2008-06-30, 11:20 AM
Bolt action makes the rifle more accurate because the recoil caused by the shot is not moving any parts it all goes straight back into the bolt then back into the stock and the sholder of the shooter. With a semi-auto the recoil pushes the bullet and slide back ejecting the shell and then slams forward loading the next bullet which causes the guns to move in differant directions which cause a small loss of accuracy.

Fhaolan
2008-06-30, 11:42 AM
I've been told by competition shooters that they choose bolt-action rifles for the same reason many serious competition handguns are single-action non-auto revolvers. Semi-auto actions tend throw the gun sideways slightly when the action moves the next round into place. Equal and opposite reaction, as it were.

I'm under the impression, although I can be easily wrong about this, that there is another consideration. Because bolt-action and revolvers are much simpler mechanisms they are innately more reliable, and craftsmanship will have a much bigger impact. After, the more moving parts there are, the more things can, and will, go wrong. When the bullet absolutely and positively needs to be at a specific point at a specific time, reliability is a *big* factor.

EDIT: Just been told by one of my gun-nut friends :smallbiggrin:, that there is a very, very rare chance for a semi-auto to malfunction and act like a full-auto gun. He said that he saw a 9mm pistol that for some reason had overheated and the bullets were 'cooking off' as he put it, the heat setting off the bullets as quickly as they were fed into the chamber. Scared the living daylights out of the guy holding the gun, as he couldn't get it to stop firing. All it takes is this kind of thing happening *once* and no sniper or competition shooter in their right mind would touch one.

Crow
2008-06-30, 12:26 PM
One of the reasons we used bolt action rifles for that type of thing that nobody has mentioned yet was that you wouldn't have brass flying all over the place. It's possible for a flying piece of brass to give away your position. With a some bolt action rifles, you operate the bolt in such a way as to grab the brass as it's coming out.

Storm Bringer
2008-06-30, 12:57 PM
I've been told by competition shooters that they choose bolt-action rifles for the same reason many serious competition handguns are single-action non-auto revolvers. Semi-auto actions tend throw the gun sideways slightly when the action moves the next round into place. Equal and opposite reaction, as it were.

I'm under the impression, although I can be easily wrong about this, that there is another consideration. Because bolt-action and revolvers are much simpler mechanisms they are innately more reliable, and craftsmanship will have a much bigger impact. After, the more moving parts there are, the more things can, and will, go wrong. When the bullet absolutely and positively needs to be at a specific point at a specific time, reliability is a *big* factor.

EDIT: Just been told by one of my gun-nut friends :smallbiggrin:, that there is a very, very rare chance for a semi-auto to malfunction and act like a full-auto gun. He said that he saw a 9mm pistol that for some reason had overheated and the bullets were 'cooking off' as he put it, the heat setting off the bullets as quickly as they were fed into the chamber. Scared the living daylights out of the guy holding the gun, as he couldn't get it to stop firing. All it takes is this kind of thing happening *once* and no sniper or competition shooter in their right mind would touch one.

now, that's intresting. I've heard of rounds cooking off before, but only in fully auto weapons that had been used heavily beforehand, like heavy MG's during supressing fire. It was explains as gun getting so hot that the rounds were set off more of less instantly by the heat when they were cycled into the breech.

xPANCAKEx
2008-06-30, 01:07 PM
One of the reasons we used bolt action rifles for that type of thing that nobody has mentioned yet was that you wouldn't have brass flying all over the place. It's possible for a flying piece of brass to give away your position. With a some bolt action rifles, you operate the bolt in such a way as to grab the brass as it's coming out.

nail on the head

most snipers are also advanced scouts. In the uk armed forces, a lot of sniper work is actually setting up OP's and sending back decent reconisence, so stealth is key. Plus the maintainance is a lot lower on a bolt action once they're in position.

Auto-snipers are better suited for security work where stealth isn't the issue

AMX
2008-06-30, 01:34 PM
now, that's intresting. I've heard of rounds cooking off before, but only in fully auto weapons that had been used heavily beforehand, like heavy MG's during supressing fire. It was explains as gun getting so hot that the rounds were set off more of less instantly by the heat when they were cycled into the breech.

I think I should point out that guns can "run away" for other reasons than actual cook-off.
Details differ depending on design, of course.

Swordguy
2008-06-30, 01:56 PM
I think I should point out that guns can "run away" for other reasons than actual cook-off.
Details differ depending on design, of course.

Indeed. I distinctly recall being the unfortunate recipient of a "slam-fire" while shooting an M1 Garand. I'd been shooting all day in fairly dusty conditions, and the firing pin basically stuck forward due to the grime in the action, so it fired the next round as it was slammed into the chamber, which cycled the action, which loaded another round into the chamber, which fired, which cycled the action...

I was on the 2nd round of the en bloc clip, so I fired 7 rounds full-auto in about a second and a half. After that, I was done shooting for a while - the bruise on my shoulder took three weeks to go away to a point I could shoot again. Since I wasn't prepared for "surprise full-auto", I let the weapon drift away from my shoulder between rounds, so I got pummeled pretty good.

Wiki article for "slamfire":
A slamfire is a premature, unintended discharge of a firearm that occurs as a round is being loaded into the chamber. Slamfires are most common in military firearms that have a free-floating firing pin, as opposed to a spring-loaded one. In the action of a typical semi-automatic weapon, the energy of a fired round forces the bolt and bolt carrier rearward, ejecting the empty case. A spring then forces the bolt forward again, and in the process a fresh round is stripped out of the magazine. When the face of the bolt hits the head of the chamber, unless there is a spring around the pin to retard its movement, inertia causes the firing pin to continue forward until it is stopped on the primer of the round. Sometimes this inertial force is sufficient to set off the primer, thereby firing the round. This can potentially occur repeatedly, until the magazine has been emptied. Slamfires can create a very dangerous situation, in which the shooter loses control of a firearm that is discharging automatically. As dirt and fouling accumulate in the firing pin channel, the pin may begin to protrude from the bolt face, and the risk of slamfire increases.

Fhaolan
2008-06-30, 03:03 PM
One of the reasons we used bolt action rifles for that type of thing that nobody has mentioned yet was that you wouldn't have brass flying all over the place. It's possible for a flying piece of brass to give away your position. With a some bolt action rifles, you operate the bolt in such a way as to grab the brass as it's coming out.

Since I personally have never fired a cartidge-load gun, I have to ask what is possibly a stupid question... How hot is the brass when you do this? Or is this more a case of a very fast grab and drop into a pouch attached to the gun to keep it from going somewhere you don't want it to?

Crow
2008-06-30, 03:18 PM
Pretty damn hot. I always used gloves with my trigger finger cut off. Operate the bolt with my thumb and use my fingers to guide the brass into the palm.

Thiel
2008-06-30, 04:34 PM
Since I personally have never fired a cartidge-load gun, I have to ask what is possibly a stupid question... How hot is the brass when you do this? Or is this more a case of a very fast grab and drop into a pouch attached to the gun to keep it from going somewhere you don't want it to?

Hot enough to burn skin. I have a very fine brand on the skin between my right thumb and index finger the size of a 30-06 cartridge.
In Denmark we have a term that loosely translates to "doing the sleeve dance".
It's used to describe what happens when an expended cartridge manages to slip into your sleeve.

Swordguy
2008-06-30, 06:26 PM
Hot enough to burn skin. I have a very fine brand on the skin between my right thumb and index finger the size of a 30-06 cartridge.
In Denmark we have a term that loosely translates to "doing the sleeve dance".
It's used to describe what happens when an expended cartridge manages to slip into your sleeve.

More fun is taking a reasonably buxom female friend shooting, and having them wear a low-cut shirt. Not only do you get a good view when teaching them to shoot, but you get to have fun watching them dance when a fresh cartridge goes down the shirt. :smallbiggrin:

Not that I would countenance such a sexist act, of course. :smalltongue:

Mike_G
2008-06-30, 07:12 PM
More fun is taking a reasonably buxom female friend shooting, and having them wear a low-cut shirt. Not only do you get a good view when teaching them to shoot, but you get to have fun watching them dance when a fresh cartridge goes down the shirt. :smallbiggrin:

Not that I would countenance such a sexist act, of course. :smalltongue:


That's awesome.

My wife had an ejected casing come back and smack her in the nose one time when we were shooting. She was more startled than hurt. It was a 9mm belonging to a friend, can't recall the manufacturer.

Thiel
2008-06-30, 07:13 PM
One of my friends managed to do that to herself with the clip from a cheap Czech M1 Garand knock-off. I'm fairly certain that isn't supposed to get hot on the original, but it did. Granted, she'd shot something like 50 clips that day.
Result: One nasty burn and she doesn't wear bikini's any more.:smallfrown:

On a similar note, anyone ever heard about a Mauser Chin?

Dervag
2008-06-30, 08:40 PM
EDIT: Just been told by one of my gun-nut friends :smallbiggrin:, that there is a very, very rare chance for a semi-auto to malfunction and act like a full-auto gun. He said that he saw a 9mm pistol that for some reason had overheated and the bullets were 'cooking off' as he put it, the heat setting off the bullets as quickly as they were fed into the chamber. Scared the living daylights out of the guy holding the gun, as he couldn't get it to stop firing. All it takes is this kind of thing happening *once* and no sniper or competition shooter in their right mind would touch one.That's only going to happen if the gun overheats.

Which only happens if it is fired repeatedly in rapid succession. Which is almost as much of a no-no for a sniper as fully automatic fire would be. If a sniper fires several shots spaced a few seconds apart from the same position, he's almost as likely to be detected as he would be if his rifle ripped off a full AK-47 style burst. Without that, I doubt cookoff would be a problem.

For competition shooting, where one must often fire on many targets in fairly quick succession, I could see it being a problem.

Note that my opinion here is one of theory; I do not have experience with weapon cookoff or how to avoid it.


Indeed. I distinctly recall being the unfortunate recipient of a "slam-fire" while shooting an M1 Garand. I'd been shooting all day in fairly dusty conditions, and the firing pin basically stuck forward due to the grime in the action, so it fired the next round as it was slammed into the chamber, which cycled the action, which loaded another round into the chamber, which fired, which cycled the action...OK. Slamfires I can see being a problem. Though, again, I'd imagine that snipers generally won't be firing so many rounds that a slamfire would be all that likely. However, if they really need to fire that many rounds, it would be a very bad thing to have the sniper rifle slamfire at 5 p.m. on a full day of heavy combat.

How many rounds did you fire before getting hit with the slamfire?


More fun is taking a reasonably buxom female friend shooting, and having them wear a low-cut shirt. Not only do you get a good view when teaching them to shoot, but you get to have fun watching them dance when a fresh cartridge goes down the shirt. :smallbiggrin:

Not that I would countenance such a sexist act, of course. :smalltongue:I dunno. I wouldn't do that to anyone I wouldn't stab with a lit cigarette. And I don't think I'd stab anyone with a lit cigarette.

Thiel
2008-06-30, 08:52 PM
I dunno. I wouldn't do that to anyone I wouldn't stab with a lit cigarette. And I don't think I'd stab anyone with a lit cigarette.

It's not that bad. In my experience, unless you're using a seriously high-powered pistol the cartridges won't get hot enough to do permanent damage. Rifles on the other hand, is an entirely different story.

Edmund
2008-07-01, 08:19 AM
Is anyone well-read on the 30 Years War?

I was wondering about weights of 17th century armour, organisation of armies that were so mercenary-heavy, the course of battles, things like that.

All the stuff I'm running in to is socio-political or too wide in scope for what I'm after.

Crow
2008-07-01, 10:32 AM
More fun is taking a reasonably buxom female friend shooting, and having them wear a low-cut shirt. Not only do you get a good view when teaching them to shoot, but you get to have fun watching them dance when a fresh cartridge goes down the shirt. :smallbiggrin:

Not that I would countenance such a sexist act, of course. :smalltongue:

Was she a lefty? Or was it brass fired by someone else?

Swordguy
2008-07-01, 11:40 AM
Was she a lefty? Or was it brass fired by someone else?

Well, a Star Model B, for example, tends to eject the brass straight backwards, with a slight curve to the right. It'll still hit you probably half the time.

Storm Bringer
2008-07-01, 01:59 PM
Is anyone well-read on the 30 Years War?

I was wondering about weights of 17th century armour, organisation of armies that were so mercenary-heavy, the course of battles, things like that.

All the stuff I'm running in to is socio-political or too wide in scope for what I'm after.

I'll see what i can do.

alas, my books don't give weights for the armour, so i can't tell you them.

army organisation......

I'll take it you have at least a basic idea what the period pikemen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pikeniere_kl.jpg)and musketeers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Altblau_regiment_musketeer.jpg)look like.

well, the basic battle unit at the start of the war was the spanish tercio. this was a formation of about 1,000 musketeers and 2,000 pikemen, which formed up with the pikes in a square and group of musketeers at each corner. in battle, they were deployed in a checkerboard pattern (ie. every other tercio was deployed back), in order to create kill zones between the tercios.

Cavalry were on a bit of a low point at the start of the wars, due to the rising power of the footman and gunpowder. quite simply, they couldn't charge home because of the pikes, which left them at the mercy of the musketeers. at the start of the war, the accepted solution of the Caracole, where teh horsemen rode right up close to the pikes, then shot off up to four of five pistols each at the pikes, before attacking with the sword into the now distrupted pike ranks. Since this ment standing still at point blank while as many as 12 ranks of horsemen took it in turns to discharge thier weapons, mustketeers tended to have a field day. Shock action crept back in as the prime tactic, with the new approach being to fire the pistols while charging before switching to swords. Note this only applies to attacks on formed infantry. when fighting other cav, cold steel was still the primary weapon.

cannons of the time generallly came in two sizes: very small 'battalion' guns (often throwing only 4lbs-9lbs shot), and the big heavy cannons. the former were light enough that they could keep up with the marching infantry, and where often deployed amoungst the infantry units (since they tended not to move much once the battle started, the capture of guns became symbolic of victory, as one would have to overrun the enemy line to get them). The bigger cannons were much, much heavier in pure weight terms, and were also very slow to move. Often, the armies would have to leave thier heavy guns behind in order to march fast enough to ensure battle.

In general, the deployment of an army on open ground would be the infantry in the center and cav on the flanks. What cannons were had were spread out along the line. Of coruse, terrian would alter this.

Now, I don't know that much about the mercs. I assume they were armed and trained along simmilar lines to the regular units, sans cannon (which required large and expenisive foundries to make). I'm not aware of any permanent formation above the tercio level, with the general giving his orders directly to the colonels, but I cannot rule out a more complex chain of command.

for the course of battles I havn't got a clue, beyound a few famous ones. Check the wiki, i'm sure it can help.


(note: The composition of armys changed significantly during the war, as tactics and equipment evloved. the Swedes rewrote the books on fighting when they joined in.)

Burrito
2008-07-01, 04:11 PM
Since I personally have never fired a cartidge-load gun, I have to ask what is possibly a stupid question... How hot is the brass when you do this? Or is this more a case of a very fast grab and drop into a pouch attached to the gun to keep it from going somewhere you don't want it to?

One time on the firing line, I had someones ejected .40 brass arc up and land just behind my shooting glasses. We were still in the middle of live fire, so I just had to sorta bear it out. That sucked. It was resting right under my eye on top of my cheek. At first I thought a bee had stung me. Good times....good times...

Deadmeat.GW
2008-07-01, 04:17 PM
That's only going to happen if the gun overheats.

Which only happens if it is fired repeatedly in rapid succession. Which is almost as much of a no-no for a sniper as fully automatic fire would be. If a sniper fires several shots spaced a few seconds apart from the same position, he's almost as likely to be detected as he would be if his rifle ripped off a full AK-47 style burst. Without that, I doubt cookoff would be a problem.

For competition shooting, where one must often fire on many targets in fairly quick succession, I could see it being a problem.

Note that my opinion here is one of theory; I do not have experience with weapon cookoff or how to avoid it.

OK. Slamfires I can see being a problem. Though, again, I'd imagine that snipers generally won't be firing so many rounds that a slamfire would be all that likely. However, if they really need to fire that many rounds, it would be a very bad thing to have the sniper rifle slamfire at 5 p.m. on a full day of heavy combat.

How many rounds did you fire before getting hit with the slamfire?


I have had a slamfire twice on the firing range with semi-automatic weapon.

Once with a semi-auto pistol on my first round of that day and with a 9 clip.

Once with a stengun after one short burst and then it refused to stop firing.

In neither case did the gun run hot (with the pistol it was actually pretty cold when it fired).

It just depends on how well maintained something is, how accurate the manufacture was.

With the pistol the issue was that the firing pin was slightly pushed forward as the system had fouled up a bit and a little bit of grit in the wrong place...
Brrraaaat!!!

The stengun was just crap, I got told BEFORE firing it that it could happen.
Pretty bad manufacture, crap finishing and aging mechanisms do not give you reliability.

Dervag
2008-07-01, 06:52 PM
I have had a slamfire twice on the firing range with semi-automatic weapon...
In neither case did the gun run hot (with the pistol it was actually pretty cold when it fired).I was under the impression that a slamfire was distinct from a cookoff. In a slamfire, it's the firing pin freaking out; in a cookoff the cartridges are detonating without the firing pin even touching them. Presumably, a gun could be vulnerable to either or both failure states.

I was observing that a sniper is very unlikely to heat up his weapon to the point where he gets cookoff. However, this does not give him any security against slamfires.


The stengun was just crap, I got told BEFORE firing it that it could happen.
Pretty bad manufacture, crap finishing and aging mechanisms do not give you reliability.Exactly.

I'd heard that the Sten was so notorious for slamfiring that some British soldiers took deliberate advantage of it. If you badly needed to clear a room full of German soldiers, throwing a loaded Sten in through the window almost guaranteed that the room would be full of thirty-two ricocheting 9mm bullets.

(possibly apocryphal).


cannons of the time generallly came in two sizes: very small 'battalion' guns (often throwing only 4lbs-9lbs shot), and the big heavy cannons. the former were light enough that they could keep up with the marching infantry, and where often deployed amoungst the infantry units (since they tended not to move much once the battle started, the capture of guns became symbolic of victory, as one would have to overrun the enemy line to get them).This imagery lasted up into the 20th century, with reason. Artillery was still towed up until World War Two, which meant that if you did win big, you had a good chance of capturing some artillery. Also, in the age of gunpowder good cannons were very expensive. A ruler could hire more mercenaries or draft more peasants to replace casualties, but cannon came out of his capital budget. Therefore, you could really hurt an enemy's ability to make war by capturing his mobile artillery.

For an example of this symbolism:

The Victoria Cross, Britain's highest decoration for valor in the face of the enemy, is traditionally made from bronze taken from captured artillery pieces.

Mike_G
2008-07-01, 08:11 PM
There's a good reason the Brits and Aussies bought so many Thompsons from the US.

Of course, you can make a Sten for 2 shillings and sixpence out of an old soupcan, which is why a blockaded nation rushed it into production.

Eorran
2008-07-02, 12:54 PM
Are there any examples of spear-type weapons used from, say, 500 BC to 1500 AD that were equally effective as melee or thrown weapons?
I know that spears and spear derivatives are the most common weapons for armies, but how specialized were they?
Most weapons I can think of only work well one way or the other. ie throwing knife isn't really great for other purposes, etc.

Deadmeat.GW
2008-07-02, 05:07 PM
Actually if we go by specialised spears we would need to look at Africa mostly, the Zulu's and other tribes had a very large variety of different spears with specific uses and ways to use.

They had a fair few fighting spears that were balanced well enough to be used as thrown weapons accurately.

The big upswing according to legend came when a certain Shaka actually showed that throwing the thing was in a lot of cases not as effective as stabbing with it since you only got one shot at that and they changed to using the fairly short hafted spears with long leaf like tips (closer to a sword blade in my opinion) for stabbing until they broke their enemies and then to throw at the ones that fled fast enough to not be able to be caught by running after them.

The tactical use of throwing volleys of spears and then having other warriors move in with the spears at the ready for stabbing was another change in tactics attributed to Shaka as he made the melee fighters push the enemies back so the people whom had thrown their spears could recover theirs.

Xanos
2008-07-07, 09:11 AM
Hi guys.
I'm going to run a campaign with the standard "Secret Covert Ops Military Branch" with ninja-soldiers going on secret missions.
The date is present day, and uses everything from our normal world.
My question is - what weapons would make sense for a stealthy strike-team of about 5-6 people to have?
They're mainly focused on infiltrating buildings for things such as high-risk hostage situations, and prefer a stealthier quieter takedown to the shotgun-shot-to-face.
However, if things go sour, they'd have to be able to take a head-on firefight and win.
They're top elite, and most likely have access to about every weapon on the market for the US military.

In advance, thanks.

Dervag
2008-07-07, 10:15 AM
Silenced MP5 submachineguns are an iconic weapon for a 'special forces' strike team. They're compact and very effective in close quarters combat. The silencer is partly to keep the gunfire noise down, but even more to preserve the hearing of the team (gunshots are loud, and your own gunshots are even louder because they're closer to your head). If they don't actually carry MP5s, they will need something like an MP5.

Some kind of combat knife is likely, but not a primary weapon.

More generally, look at the real world weapons carried by special forces like British SAS and US Navy SEALs. They've spent decades figuring out the answer to more or less the exact question you're asking. A lot of their missions revolve around the same kind of things your party of PCs will be doing.

Storm Bringer
2008-07-07, 11:41 AM
As Dervag says, the classic gun for counter-terrorist units these days is Heckler & Koch MP5. It's small, easy to handle in close quarters, easy to suppress, and, thanks to the design of it's action, very accurate in single shot mode. It's also a bleeding SMG with all the point blank firepower that suggests (though like most SMG's it struggles against body armour) Other weapons i can think of that a CT unit might use/need:

A sniper rilfe. I'm told that it is possible to make these scilenced, with a lot of work (specifically, you have to use sub-sonic ammo, which lacks in power compared to full power rounds). Or you could just have the sniper use a standard sniper rilfe and accept he's going to blow cover if he needs to fire. On the plus, he'd have a gun that can blow straight thought most cover and be able to shoot at targets well beyound their range.

Grenades. Not frags, but a combo of Fashbang and smoke grenades, with a little tear gas thrown in for good mesure. Careful use of 'nades can seriously reduce the enemys ability to fight, making the CT guys jobs much easier.

Pistols. I'd leave these to the players choice, really. Pistols are not going to be thier primary weapons, and they might as well have a cool one.

Knife. Like dervag said, it's easier to have one than to not.

Maps. Most CT operations are heavily planned, and the team would have access to at least a basic map of the target to study at thier leisure.

beyond that, it really depends if they are civilian or Military.
Army dudes, acting as part of a larger battle plan, are more likey to be equipped with heavier weaponry (assualt rifles, MG's, C-4, ect), and to have heavy support available, but at the same time are facing much better equipped foes.

Civvie CT teams aren't going to be carrying anything more than small arms, but neither will thier enemys.

Swordguy
2008-07-07, 12:41 PM
Some sort of automatic shotgun should be in the team for door-breaching work or when stealth in a CBQ situation doesn't matter. A SPAS-12 or Pancour Jackhammer are very SCARY choices.

As mentioned - 1 man with a scoped rifle. Which one will generally depend on country of origin.

These are carried in addition to the standard weapon (as mentioned - MP5). That's another reason to use SMGs. They're generally light enough that you can carry the extra special-use weapon.

Actually, the Spycraft Modern Arms Guide (AEG 1802) from Alderac Entertainment is about exactly the type of game you're running, and make recommendations. It also lists about 400 different firearms (and is d20, if that matters to you). I don't like d20 in general, but it's an excellent resource.

Crow
2008-07-07, 01:23 PM
Firearms are just another tool. Your team is going to pick the best tool for the job. That could be a silenced Mp5 or an M249 depending on the mission. Have your players' agency or whatever provide a well-stocked armory to choose from, and then choose weapons as they relate to the mission.

Swordguy
2008-07-07, 01:50 PM
Crow has a good point - I assumed you were a rogue team or something, but if you've got any kind of major backing, they really ought to have an armory you can select from.

As an operating guide for your players, if they don't know how MOUT (military operations on urban terrain) works, I'd suggest Appendix B of FM 21-75 (here (http://www.military-info.com/book/N34_CSS/BK_CSS.HTM)) - you can probably find a cheap PDF or even an actual copy fairly easily.

The point above was brought up that SMGs have issues with OPFOR wearing body armor. One that doesn't have such an issue is the Colt Model 933 Commando (http://world.guns.ru/assault/as50-e.htm). It weighs 5.3 lbs empty, while the MP5A3 weighs in at 5.5 lbs, empty, so the weight is equivalent (the M-16 weights 8.3 lbs, for reference). Moreover, it fires the full-on 5.56x45 NATO round that the M-16 uses. Length is identical (when the Commando has the stock retracted all the way) at 680mm, but the Commando's stock can add up to another 82mm depending on the user.

The downside of that is that it's loud, and that any given round that'll generally penetrate body armor is almost CERTAIN to overpenetrate unarmored targets and go right through walls on missed shots.

Norsesmithy
2008-07-07, 04:49 PM
If I were running the team, CAR-15 variants would certainly be my choice.

Actually, here in America, the trend seems to be for (swat and military) entry teams moving away from MP5s, in favor of CAR-15 variants like the M4, mainly because of the increase in bodyarmour use by the bad guys, but also because (believe it or not), with the right bullet selection, the ARs will be less likely to kill or wound innocents on the other side of the wall (or badguy).

45 grain jacketed hollowpoint bullets will penetrate a level III vest out of a 10 inch barrel and penetrate 13 inches in flesh (about the best penetration you can get, more will be wasted, less will do less damage), but that same round will fragment after passing through wallboard and the fragments will dump velocity fast because of how unaerodynamic they are, making them safer for bystanders.

ARs also silence well (though not so well as a MP5), and are very natural to use.

As far as a "Sniper Rifle" (actually it will be a counter sniper rifle, if you hold to doctrine), you have a plethora of choices. The Remington Model 700 has been a standard for years, and dozens of makers offer similar wares, the M14 makes a very respectable sniper rifle when given a little work, FALs are generally going to be accurate enough, and a few teams still use G3 based designs, although they tend to have a vicious maintenance cycle when heavily accurized. The biggest new trend I see is towards AR based rifles in .308 (http://www.knightarmco.com/images/sr25.html). The AR based sniper rifles are every bit as accurate as the bolt action guns, every bit as fast as the older semiauto guns, and generally silence better than either.

Of course, with both the CARs and the .308 ARs (and actually any 9mm subgun as well), you cannot silence the supersonic crack of the bullet passing through the air, but that is a nondirectional sound that is very hard to track.

If you want a powerful semiauto that silences better than a MP5, you can get AR 15 variants in .300/.221 Fireball (also known as .300 Whisper (http://www.quarterbore.com/300whisper/rifles/rig007.htm)). This cartridge is accurate to about 600 meters with 250 grain subsonic ammo that will hit like .45 acp on steroids. When silenced, and fitted with a gas regulator that can shut the action, the two loudest noises it makes are the firing pin hitting the primer and the bullet hitting the target. Open the gas regulator for semiauto fire, and it will be a bit louder, but still quieter than a MP5.

It should defeat level III body armor to about 125 yards.

Dervag
2008-07-07, 08:47 PM
I have my own question:

Presumably, the protection provided by a suit of modern body armor decreases when it is hit. My question is: how much? For example, imagine someone demonstrates a suit of body armor by firing a rifle-caliber bullet into it. Would it then be foolhardy to wear the same armor in a firefight?

I assume the answer depends on the design- a suit designed around very large ceramic plates might be weakened more by a hit than a suit designed around smaller plates.


As an operating guide for your players, if they don't know how MOUT (military operations on urban terrain) works, I'd suggest Appendix B of FM 21-75 (here (http://www.military-info.com/book/N34_CSS/BK_CSS.HTM)) - you can probably find a cheap PDF or even an actual copy fairly easily.Noting the date of publication, has anything much changed in the past 24 years?

Swordguy
2008-07-07, 09:33 PM
Noting the date of publication, has anything much changed in the past 24 years?

There's a new one supposed to be coming out soon, with modifications made regarding lessons learned from the Iraq/Afghan conflict - but the difference will mainly be dealing with technology advances. The basic small-unit tactical doctrine (how to sweep a room, entry stacks, etc) is basically unchanged.





I have my own question:

Presumably, the protection provided by a suit of modern body armor decreases when it is hit. My question is: how much? For example, imagine someone demonstrates a suit of body armor by firing a rifle-caliber bullet into it. Would it then be foolhardy to wear the same armor in a firefight?

I assume the answer depends on the design- a suit designed around very large ceramic plates might be weakened more by a hit than a suit designed around smaller plates.


The Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPI) in Interceptor Body Armor (used by the US Army) are each rated to stop up to 3 rounds from 7.62◊51 NATO (.308 Winchester) M-80 ball ammunition. In practice, they will generally stop between 2 and 5 shots. Each hit will shatter a fairly large surrounding area of plate, so multiple hits in a small area are bad.

There are also the E-SAPI plates which provide a roughly equivalent level of protection against M2 7.62x51 armor-piercing ammunition. However, they add about 4 pounds to an already-heavy system (though not as bad as the one worn in Somalia, which had a total mass of about 26lbs - the basic IBA+SAPI weighs about 17lbs). Interceptor body armor in total weighs: 8.4 lbs (IOTV) + E-SAPI plates (10.9 lb) + S-SAPI plates (7.1 lb) + neck, throat and groin protectors (about 7 lbs combined, depending on make)=33.4 (ish) lbs.

The alternative is the controversial Dragon Skin armor. Each scale can stop a single .30-06 M2 150 gr FMJ round, but there are LOTS of scales, and the odds of taking multiple hits on a single scale are low. However, some ad hoc military tests (including one I witnessed) showed oblique hits (like to the side of the torso when shot at from the front) stripping off long chains of scales. It's more flexible than IBA from side-to-side, but not as flexible when the user bends over at the waist (since the SAPI don't overlap the lower abs, and the scales do overlap one another at the top and bottom). It has more coverage against rifle fire than the 33-lb IBA described above, and weighs about the same when groin and neck protectors are included. It DOES weigh less - but this is due to the IBA's IOTV being a protective device itself against pistol fire (and thus weighing extra when combined with the SAPI). The IBA allows you to pull out the plates and go with an 8.4-lb protective device against light shrapnel and small arms, OR to simply slot in new plates and be just as protected today as you were yesterday. Dragon Skin requires you to send it to an armorer to repair it - but the damage will have a smaller surface area.

Tradeoffs all over the place.

Dervag
2008-07-07, 10:27 PM
This helps to explain why the army doesn't just switch over to it.

The repair issues had vaguely stirred in my mind when I heard the description of the armor, but nothing as specific as what you said.

Swordguy
2008-07-07, 10:43 PM
This helps to explain why the army doesn't just switch over to it.

The repair issues had vaguely stirred in my mind when I heard the description of the armor, but nothing as specific as what you said.

Our company supply sergeant got his hands on one in 2005, and we took it out to the range and shot at it. As the ranking FNG, I got to carry it (while on crutches no less). As such, I was keenly aware that it was heavier than the bog-standard IBA w/SAPI plates. Between the weight, the glue issues, and the fact that the Army supply system is set up entirely to deal with the IBA, the Dragon Skin simply doesn't offer enough advantages to justify the cost and complexity of the complete switch-over.

It protects well enough, I suppose. But it's not enough of an increase for the pain in the ass an Army-wide switch would cause.

Dervag
2008-07-07, 11:28 PM
What does "FNG" stand for?

Swordguy
2008-07-07, 11:36 PM
What does "FNG" stand for?

****ing New Guy. :smallamused:

Swooper
2008-07-08, 12:21 PM
How does one fight with a glaive (by which I mean a single or double edged blade mounted on a long pole) or similar slashing polearms? I've tried googling for this information but failed. It's not meant as an impaling weapon unlike a spear and many other polearms, but I have trouble imagining how one can achieve adequate force by slashing with a polearm... Anyone know more about this?

Raum
2008-07-08, 07:13 PM
How does one fight with a glaive (by which I mean a single or double edged blade mounted on a long pole) or similar slashing polearms? I've tried googling for this information but failed. It's not meant as an impaling weapon unlike a spear and many other polearms, but I have trouble imagining how one can achieve adequate force by slashing with a polearm... Anyone know more about this?You can find several videos on YouTube by searching for naginata (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=naginata&search_type=&aq=f). From watching a couple the striking motion appears to have as much or more in common with an axe as a saber. Many of the strikes appear to be chopping rather than attempting a draw cut.

Here's the women's 2007 world championship match (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8J_IkuUbak&feature=related). Can't see all the scoring though. :/

reorith
2008-07-10, 10:16 AM
how hard would it be to break someone's jaw by pistol whipping them? could it be done with a m1911? how about a chinese knock off?

Swordguy
2008-07-10, 10:46 AM
how hard would it be to break someone's jaw by pistol whipping them? could it be done with a m1911? how about a chinese knock off?

*glances at M1911 in reorith's hand*

Ummm...not hard at all. In either case.

*backs away slowly*

Why do you ask?

Dervag
2008-07-10, 01:44 PM
how hard would it be to break someone's jaw by pistol whipping them? could it be done with a m1911? how about a chinese knock off?The M1911 is made out of things like wood and iron. Possibly very hard plastics on some more recent versions. Those things, being stronger than your jawbone, could break it quite easily. It does not actually take very much force to accomplish this; a strong guy can do it literally with his bare hands.

A "cheap Chinese knockoff" of the M1911 will also be made out of things like wood, iron, and very hard plastic. Just not as well. It not being made as well may make it less effective as an automatic pistol. But it won't make it much less effective as a club. Therefore, you could definitely break someone's jaw by hitting them in the face with it.

Construct
2008-07-11, 05:09 AM
...I have trouble imagining how one can achieve adequate force by slashing with a polearm...
Because of the length, the end of that pole is moving deceptively fast, even without doing a little swirl in the air to build up speed before bringing it down on your opponent. The length also greatly increases the moment of inertia of the weapon and allows one to space the hands shoulder-width apart to apply more leverage to the stroke. It's like how a sledgehammer allows you to apply as much force with a small swing as a club hammer does with a large one. I love polearms. And cake.

Neon Knight
2008-07-20, 06:59 AM
You know, the process that leads me to the questions is almost as fun as getting answers...

The AK 100 series: The latest and greatest from the Kalashnikov line.

The AK-101 is chambered in 5.56 NATO, just like most modern Western assault rifles. Does it offer performance similar or close to a 5.56 rifle?

The AK-103 is chambered in 7.62x39mm, like the classic AK. It features many modern improvements, like an AK-74 style muzzle brake. Does this reduce the recoil of the rifle?

The AK-102,-104, and -105 are carbine versions of the weapon, featuring many of the improvements from the 100 series in a smaller package. They are chambered in 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39mm, and 5.45mmx39mm respectively. Do these weapons offer an improvement over the AKS-74U?

Finally the AK-107 and -108. These boast the BARS (Balanced Automated Recoil System) which supposedly counteracts most of the muzzle climb generated in fully automatic fire. Are these weapons significantly more comfortable/accurate in fully automatic mode, compared to conventional assault rifles?

There are plans for an RPK-107 and -108, i.e. an LMG verion of these weapons. Would BARS aid an LMG?

Thanks in advance.

Crow
2008-07-20, 12:45 PM
Speaking from experience, the AK-74 muzzle break greatly reduces recoil. Firing 5.56, it is amazing. Haven't fired it in auto though. Same goes for the BARS system...which I haven't fired in auto either.

Norsesmithy
2008-07-21, 12:18 PM
You know, the process that leads me to the questions is almost as fun as getting answers...

The AK 100 series: The latest and greatest from the Kalashnikov line.

The AK-101 is chambered in 5.56 NATO, just like most modern Western assault rifles. Does it offer performance similar or close to a 5.56 rifle?

The AK-103 is chambered in 7.62x39mm, like the classic AK. It features many modern improvements, like an AK-74 style muzzle brake. Does this reduce the recoil of the rifle?

The AK-102,-104, and -105 are carbine versions of the weapon, featuring many of the improvements from the 100 series in a smaller package. They are chambered in 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39mm, and 5.45mmx39mm respectively. Do these weapons offer an improvement over the AKS-74U?

Finally the AK-107 and -108. These boast the BARS (Balanced Automated Recoil System) which supposedly counteracts most of the muzzle climb generated in fully automatic fire. Are these weapons significantly more comfortable/accurate in fully automatic mode, compared to conventional assault rifles?

There are plans for an RPK-107 and -108, i.e. an LMG verion of these weapons. Would BARS aid an LMG?

Thanks in advance.

While I haven't played with any Class III Ak-10Xs, I have fired some 922r compatible "clones" (the 922r law forces you to make sure that a minimum number of certain parts are American Made on any rifle with certain features, so the guns I fired were not actually copies, but originals with some copied pieces). I found that they were smoother operating than an AK, with less recoil, though I attribute that to the new gas system, as much as to the muzzle brake. The muzzle brake does make them louder to fire, but it was very tolerable. They are more accurate than the Saiga brand AKM I have fired, though not as accurate as my AR-15. They still retain the AKM ergonomics, which is not really a strong point, they are comfortable to shoot, but not as fast in transition, nor as quick to steady as an AR.

Overall, I think that they are great rifles, and I intend to buy one, eventually.