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

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post

    And psychological warfare played a big part on it. Natives were terrified of european dogs, which they saw as alien human-eating beasts similar to wolves or cougars (they didn't have big dogs).
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    The Conquistador's "greyhounds" were big game hunting dogs, similar to wolfhounds, deerhounds and borzois; not the modern ones, that are bred for their looks and to win prizes at shows, but the old landraces that were used to hunt wolves, deer and similar...

    They also had "alanos", which were big game catch dogs similar to argentine mastiffs used to hunt boars and bears. The alanos were the dogs who were expected to fight armed men who stood their ground, while sighthounds were used to chase natives who were running away.

    They equiped their dogs with leather and cotton armor, good enough to stop crappy native arrows, spears and javelins.

    And psychological warfare played a big part on it. Natives were terrified of european dogs, which they saw as alien human-eating beasts similar to wolves or cougars (they didn't have big dogs). On top of that, the native americans from the Caribbean and Mexico didn't have mounts, beasts of burden, working beasts, shepherd dogs or even specialized hunting dogs, so they weren't used to watch trained animals acting in a way that looked intelligent. The sight of a weird beast wearing armor, following verbal orders during battle and taking cover from arrows must have seem unnatural to them...

    Another advantage dogs had was their ability to detect hidden enemies and to guard the camp at night, preventing both ambushes and nocturnal attacks.

    And as somebody said, dogs could fight in pitch darkness. Becerrillo (Little Calf) was said to have killed thirty-three enemies during a nocturnal battle; it seems the natives assaulted the spanish camp at night, hoping to use the surprise and the lack of visibility to compensate for their lesser equipment, but they bumped onto Becerillo, who picked them one by one at his pleasure; the caribbeans couldn't see him, and even if they could hear him, they probably hesitated before running towards the screams of a fellow being butchered by a beast in pitch darkness...

    The best dogs had a pay as high as a crossbowman (50% more than a swordman).
    Fascinating info there Cistenes, thanks for posting.

    Do you recommend any primary sources on this stuff in particular? I have read Bernal Diaz which is fantastic.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Fascinating info there Cistenes, thanks for posting.

    Do you recommend any primary sources on this stuff in particular? I have read Bernal Diaz which is fantastic.

    G
    If you google "Becerrillo" and "Leoncico" you should find a bunch of books. Those two were the most famous wardogs of the Conquistadors.

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

    I've seen an unsourced claim that the Romans used dogs to break up shield walls and phalanxes. And I can see that potentially working really well. Dogs might be very well suited to quickly slip under the spears and shields of the defenders and start biting at their unprotected legs. Even if they don't deal a lot of damage, some men in the front ranks will have to drop their spears and won't be able to keep their shields firmly aligned. And once you get a hole in a shield wall it's basically over.
    The one problem I see is how you're going to get your dogs back. When the enemy formation is getting squeezed and there is no way to move, lots ot dogs would probably get crushed.

    Disrupting cavalry charges that are not used to dogs should also work quite well.

    Speaking of densely packed soldiers getting crushed in a panic: I recently saw the claim that the Battle of Agincourt was not won by the English archers at all, but simply by the terrain. An analyst for crowd safety said that the battlefield had really muddy ground and the topography is forming a natural funnel narrowing towards the English position. Having thousands of densely packed men charging in there are perfect conditions for a disaster. Some will slip, the ones behind them can't go around them, and you get a massive pileup of heavily armored men crushing each other to death. The English would only have to deal with those trickling through at the fringes, who would not nearly have the strength to slam into the English formations and overwhelm them.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Actually I think you are wrong - plate armor was at least in part, developed due to guns, (and heavy crossbows and recurve bows).

    They were proofing plate armor with test-dents from crossbows in the 14th Century and started using firearms in the 15th, which I think is a pretty good indication of the link.

    G
    Something I remembered but keep forgetting to mention. In Sengoku Jidai Japan armour did develop in a similar way to Europe with bigger and more solid cuirasses roughly at the same time as arquebuses were introduced. They had no crossbows or armourpiercing weapons like medieaval Europe (in general, e.g. crossbows were used earlier in sieges amongst other things but seem to fall largely out of use). Of course as in Europe it's chicken/egg problem really.

    However, such a period of dynamic warfare pushed the envelope too so it's probably fair to say metallurgy also developed in response to increasing demands of mass manufacture of equipment (e.g. katana quality is considered to dip during this period compared to earlier ones) and they developed simpler types of armour more easily made in bulk and stored. It's also not impossible to dismiss the notion that they literally got the idea from the very same westeners bringing guns to Japan.


    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Speaking of densely packed soldiers getting crushed in a panic: I recently saw the claim that the Battle of Agincourt was not won by the English archers at all, but simply by the terrain. An analyst for crowd safety said that the battlefield had really muddy ground and the topography is forming a natural funnel narrowing towards the English position. Having thousands of densely packed men charging in there are perfect conditions for a disaster. Some will slip, the ones behind them can't go around them, and you get a massive pileup of heavily armored men crushing each other to death. The English would only have to deal with those trickling through at the fringes, who would not nearly have the strength to slam into the English formations and overwhelm them.
    Well that's definitely a major factor. But the English also picked the spot specifically for that reason. I would suggest that totally dismissing the English archers is as bonkers as claiming it as the sole instrument of victory. The aggregate effect of lucky arrows would have encouraged the French troops forwards am sure. Because if you aren't under fire odds are you can take more time to properly attack. The core of dismounted men-at-arms would have held back the French troops that arrived too, it was a heavily contested combat not picking off a few stragglers. Which would have exarberated the bottleneck properties of the the terrain while a steady rain of arrows making it dangerous to open your visor would have meant less local awareness and more packing of troops.

    That'd be my version of it at least.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    In general canines are not really built for fighting. Compared to say, a cougar, or hell, a bull cow or a large buck, a dog or even a wolf is stiff, poorly armed, relatively light, and not built for power.
    Actually a fighting dog is breed specifically for that. It *is* built for power, aggression and good canines.
    However, as was mentioned it's also not meant to do it alone. The attack dog is today a tool to help normally police officers to subdue people more safely.

    We should also remember that even though it's expensive to train a dog, it may save human lives which tends to be more important. Sometimes we forget today. As much as a policedog is mourned it is trained to go for a criminal's arm making wielding a weapon hard. If it is killed doing that, it probably saved an officer's life.

    If the Roman army lost a bunch of dogs breaking a shieldwall they probably considered it a good trade-off.
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2017-12-08 at 06:28 AM.

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

    Yup, a good example is Diesel, the French police dog that was sent first into the St. Denis apartment. The idea was clearly that of avoiding dead policemen, and it worked, since, after the bad guys stopped firing, the dog was sent first to explore the rooms, where it was ambushed and shot.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    We should also remember that even though it's expensive to train a dog, it may save human lives which tends to be more important. Sometimes we forget today. As much as a policedog is mourned it is trained to go for a criminal's arm making wielding a weapon hard. If it is killed doing that, it probably saved an officer's life.

    If the Roman army lost a bunch of dogs breaking a shieldwall they probably considered it a good trade-off.
    on one of by pre-deployment briefings put it:

    "A Dog is valuable asset. its a loyal and dependable friend. Just like you, it has a regimental number....but it ALSO has a NSN (Nato Stock Number), And when it dies, you take its corpse back, go to your QM (quartermasters), fill out a demand sheet and say "I need a new one", and a new one will be brought out of stores. its a tool, just as your rifle is, or your water bottle, and when it is no longer fit for purpose, we will replace it".

    that said, most military working dogs are used for shearches, not attack.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Since we are speaking of war animals, does anyone have any recommendations for reading in regards to War Elephants? I find them facinating and i would love to use them more in my TTRPGs.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Concerning Greek warfare:

    Formation drills probably existed, at least in some cities. Herodotus says that the Spartans were able to feign running away, then stop, regroup, get back into formation, and attack the pursuers. I can't imagine something like this happened without previous training.
    Dancing is first and foremost a form of expression, however it is known that Spartan culture underwent huge changes in its relationship with poetry, singing, and dancing, by which I mean that their once rich practice had almost dried up by the fifth century. The Spartans kept dancing (in a sad way, said some Greek author whose name I can't remember), and it doesn't surprise me if its incidental usefulness was cannibalised for combat training.

    Concerning sports: the Greeks had contrasting opinions. Some explicitly said that they were a preparation for war, because of physical prowess and competition. Others explicitly stated that sports belonged to a lifestyle that didn't have anything to do with the reality of war, and were even counterproductive. The sportsman accurately followed a certain diet, a certain routine, needed to sleep enough and be disturbed as little as possible. Soldiers were constantly on the move, slept little, on the ground, had to live with the available food, and, most importantly, needed to be brave enough to go to the slaughter of battle, something for which sports gave no preparation.

    The hoplitodromia has a few problems to it. One is that it can be simply seen as a loaded race. But I think that there are two more things. One is of practical nature, which is getting a whole phalanx (in the Greek sense of line) to sprint run 350 metres. Another one is the fact that the Olympian hoplitodromia was actually the shortest one, with at least one competition going for 4 to 15 stadioi (700-2600 m). It's unthinkable that untrained people could reach such levels, and resistance running is a sport that requires constant training. What I mean is that sprinting in armour (like in Olympia) or doing resistance hoplitodromia (like in Plataea, where the runners also wore the cuirass) reflected the kind of skill that, with a. Greek soldier training, is impossible to obtain and maintain on a mass level, which is what the hoplitai needed. Instead, this is the kind of exercise that goes well with individual kleos, the one sought after in sports. Which brings me to what I think was the most important point: hoplitodromia entered Olympia in 520, but a more ancient form had long existed in Athens. In here, however, the run was made in couples: two men were on a chariot, one was the driver; the other one wore armour; at intervals, he jumped off the chariot, and ran along it, and then jumped back in. This seems to me a representation of much older times, and the kind of war described by Homer, with the individualistic, kleos-seeking, fleet-footed attacking hero running on the chariot and jumping down to chase and fight. Olympic hoplitodromia may very well be the simple evolution of this.
    Of course, there are other explanations, like the idea that 350 m (2 stadioi) was the throw distance of a Persian bow. But, even if the origin of the sport were in updated drills that tried to have the soldiers get over the massed archery killing zone as fast as possible, I still think that the sport would have taken a very different direction, ignoring formation and having the athlete give up as much energy as possible during the race, without care for the later melee.
    There also is the problem of Herodotus' account of Marathon (6.112): on one side, it declares that the Athenians did run 8 stadioi; on the other hand, it says that it was the first time a Greek army had charged running towards the enemy. But, if the hoplitodromia had been introduced 30 years earlier at Olympia as an answer to new drills for running in armour, we would expect that someone would have put the drill to use a bit before that. Was this done out of necessity? How fast did they run? Or was it a side effect of a huge part of citizens that loved running in armour during their free time? How conditioned were farmers? This last question is not a joke, since the Greeks later recognised that a farmer's job was extremely heavy for the unaccustomed.
    Of course, if I had numbers for sport participation outside the top levels, it would be easier to form a theory about its impact on the performance of citizen soldiers.

    About naval power: Athens and Corinth weren't the only cities with huge fleets. During the 430s, Corcyra had a larger fleet than Corinth, and was considered the second naval power in Greece, after Athens. Siracusa also had a large fleet, although it was eclipsed by Athens after 482. I'm sure that there were other large naval powers out there; Sparta of course had a run at it, and Aegina in archaic times was considered a huge naval power.
    Now, for a navy you need people and ships. Thukydides observes that there always were people, and that stuff is harder to get, and was the real limiting factor in older times, especially when mounting expeditions.
    Athens had a huge material base in the Delian League. At first, the allies would arm their own ships and have them serve in a common fleet. Later, Athens managed to get money instead of ships. This meant that Athens would build and have all ships directly under its control.
    And where did they get the rowers?
    Again, from the allies. People who had previously worked as rowers in e.g. Delos would row under a private contract in the Athenian fleet. Athenian rowers also got paid. Being a rower was actually a profession. Occasionally, rowers would even subcontract to slaves, a practice that became important with time. Other times, rowers would get paid more if they brought slaves to row alongside them.
    This was made easier by the fact that the triarchs were given an empty hull by the city, and would have to fill it as they saw fit. They wanted to do a good job at it, however, since they would be commanding it.
    Now, the city had the rowers paid first one, later two oboli a day. A hoplite also got two oboli a day, one for himself and one for his servant. When hoplites needed to get overseas, they would fill a ship themselves, and sail and row it to destination. However, they weren't considered skilled, and fared badly in battle.
    Skill is the critical factor here, as we come to the comparison with Corinth. We know that Corinth attempted to buy the mercenary rowers from the League paying them more than Athens. Perikles observed that it would not work, because those rowers would have been exiled from their home cities, if they served for the enemy.
    And that's the thing, I believe. Athens wasn't just a ludicrously rich and large city, with an extremely skilled lower class: it had got the exclusive access to the most important depot of skilled seamen, the cities of the League. How many of them served? Some take a maximalist reading of 2/3 of the fleet being made up by allies, with Athenians having the top third. An option would be to verify the quantity of ships given by each ally before they got to pay money, and assume that the quantity of rowers was proportional to the quantity of ships previously armed.

    Corinth didn't have men that skillful. The fight against Phormio, when a numerically superior Corinthian fleet avoided engagement with the Athenians as long as possible, only to be defeated by their own tactics, is a testament to this. They surely also had smaller numbers, since Corinth was smaller than Athens. And they also had a different economy. In Athens, the standing fleet was one of various mass activities for which a citizen could be paid by the city, judiciary service eg lasting a year and being paid two oboli a day, later three. Corinth instead had a rich manufacturing sector. Very small, single dose Corinthian parfume vases were everywhere. And Corinth actually sold triremes (although this is attested in 489, much earlier than the Peloponnesian War), which means that a lot of workers were on shipyards. The result was that in the 430s Corinth had to take workers from their jobs to put them into ships. This must have been very unpopular, and also have reduced the competitiveness of the city industries, opening up the market for their rivals.
    The curious fact is that, when Athens tried to draft rowers in a similar way (much later, around 340 I think), it didn't work. The drafted simply mostly didn't show up. They also were not prosecuted.
    And, however bizarre, Athens might have been helped by the many poor who lived in the city. Rowers were explicitly defined as poor. The more the poors, the more the rowers available, and this wasn't just in Athens. (Another reason why people probably didn't like being drafted.)
    So this is my explanation for why Corinth had trouble recovering naval losses, compared to Athens: lack of specialised manpower willing to serve. This was mostly due to Athenian size and its political success in obtaining the exclusive allegiance of the sea cities of the Delian League, as well as its deliberate effort to keep Corcyra independent from Corinth (whose two navies, together, were larger than Athens's).

    About the relationship between democracy and the fleet in Athens, the fleet occasionally became the guardian of democracy (Samos 411). It's also true that the poor were happy of new ships being launched, because it meant new jobs as rowers. If the poor had power, they facilitated the expansion of the fleet. Thetes explicitly meant "wage earners", so they were linked to paid service, which was their living. So the thing went both ways.

    On a side note, Athens was paying its men earlier than Rome (the siege of Veii being the first known instance, around 406-396).

    This took quite long to put together. Later I can post some sources, if anyone is interested.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Well that's definitely a major factor. But the English also picked the spot specifically for that reason. I would suggest that totally dismissing the English archers is as bonkers as claiming it as the sole instrument of victory. The aggregate effect of lucky arrows would have encouraged the French troops forwards am sure. Because if you aren't under fire odds are you can take more time to properly attack.
    Archers also not only shot arrows. Every archer is also a light infantry man. They wouldn't be much of a match to a man at arms in close combat, but in this specific situation the French couldn't make effective use of their numbers while the English had a lot of archers. Those French men at arms who managed to untangle themselves from the massive pileup and made it to the other side probably did not make up a coherent fighting force in proper fighting shape. Even if they made it out without serious injuries from getting crushed, the physical exertion from pulling themselves out of a pile of bodies while in knee deep mud would have put them into bad shape against the stationary English. And barely escaping from a lethal situation to stumble unorganized into a waiting foe would certainly have been highly distressing even for hardened veterans.
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    Does anybody have any information about melee boomerangs? I saw a picture of one in a book long ago: it was was roughly the size of a sword and had a hooked edge to overcome shields, but I can't find any information about them.

    Iirc, there were non-hooked designs too and the caption said that they were often used with shields in close quarter fighting by austalian aboridgines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I've seen an unsourced claim that the Romans used dogs to break up shield walls and phalanxes. And I can see that potentially working really well. Dogs might be very well suited to quickly slip under the spears and shields of the defenders and start biting at their unprotected legs. Even if they don't deal a lot of damage, some men in the front ranks will have to drop their spears and won't be able to keep their shields firmly aligned. And once you get a hole in a shield wall it's basically over.
    The one problem I see is how you're going to get your dogs back. When the enemy formation is getting squeezed and there is no way to move, lots ot dogs would probably get crushed.
    This is one of those things that looks good at first glance and then falls apart once you start to think it through.

    First problem is shields, especially in a shield wall, stop dogs cold. If you see the pooch coming, there's no way he should be able to bypass it, especially not if it is something like an aspis or scutum.

    Then there are spears - you can't slip under them unless the men using them are idiots. Maybe you could do it with something like a pike or sarissa, but even then, you're taking casualties. That aside, if they do slip by, so what? You still have a sword exactly for this reason.

    Another problem is training - how on Earth do you want to make sure the dogs don't bite your own people? This is one problem that came up every single time in warfare, and why dogs are used today in small teams that the dog can learn to recognize, together with a handler close by who can call him off. A handler whose job would be almost impossible to do in a massed formation fight, if only because dogs in large numbers tend to be more temperamental than usual.

    Add to that the problem of dogs needing their own care, food and drink while being decidedly less versatile than a human soldier, and they quickly become not worth it.

    And lastly, there's the problem of following up. See, if the dogs disrupt front of a shield wall and you want to capitalize on that, you now have to run into the middle of a bunch of aggressive dogs fighting for their life, and pass by them, putting them behind your shield.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Disrupting cavalry charges that are not used to dogs should also work quite well.
    I don't think there were many, if any, horses unused to dogs in relevant time periods. And horses are quite capable of trampling a crowd of humans on their own.

    Lastly, horses trained for war were used to a lot of things, from angry bears to cannon barrages, bunch of dogs would hardly register to those.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Speaking of densely packed soldiers getting crushed in a panic: I recently saw the claim that the Battle of Agincourt was not won by the English archers at all, but simply by the terrain. An analyst for crowd safety said that the battlefield had really muddy ground and the topography is forming a natural funnel narrowing towards the English position. Having thousands of densely packed men charging in there are perfect conditions for a disaster. Some will slip, the ones behind them can't go around them, and you get a massive pileup of heavily armored men crushing each other to death. The English would only have to deal with those trickling through at the fringes, who would not nearly have the strength to slam into the English formations and overwhelm them.
    We have account of Agincourt from people who saw it themselves. There was no crushing of men - well, there was, but with mallets after they were to exhausted to move, not by press of a crowd.

    What did happen was the mud and chokepoint slowing down the charge, and English preparations of obstacles made it possible for archers to safely point blank the enemy. A plate armor is almost impenetrable by a warbow from front, but it has to be good quality armor, and it isn't doing so well against flanking fire. Even so, not doing so well means that maybe one arrow in 20 get through, but if you have enough archers...

    Let's not forget that being hit in armor with an arrow that powerful still hurts. Not a lot, somewhat less than a punch, but again, put that together with exhaustion from muddy ground and a lot of archers.

    And lastly, only the somewhat rich could afford the plate armor in the first place.

    What did not happen was warbows moving down knights in full plate at 200 yards like fresh grass. What also didn't happen was the victory of common man, seeing as the warbow archers were not really poor commoners.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora
    Archers also not only shot arrows. Every archer is also a light infantry man. They wouldn't be much of a match to a man at arms in close combat
    Kinda depends on your definition of man at arms and archers, some archers had pretty damn heavy gear, up to and including their own plate armor, and many men at arms didn't have the best arms and armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora
    but in this specific situation the French couldn't make effective use of their numbers while the English had a lot of archers. Those French men at arms who managed to untangle themselves from the massive pileup and made it to the other side probably did not make up a coherent fighting force in proper fighting shape. Even if they made it out without serious injuries from getting crushed, the physical exertion from pulling themselves out of a pile of bodies while in knee deep mud would have put them into bad shape against the stationary English. And barely escaping from a lethal situation to stumble unorganized into a waiting foe would certainly have been highly distressing even for hardened veterans.
    There was no massive crushing pile up, only a lot of exhausted men in a very deep mud. They also managed to briefly push back English front line, but flanking charge from archers saw to that. Whoever made those claims about Agincourt didn't know much about it, it seems.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Agincourt seems to be a magnet for odd explanations that aren't actually needed.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Actually a fighting dog is breed specifically for that. It *is* built for power, aggression and good canines.
    As canids go, yes, attack dogs and grey wolves are about as powerful as it gets. That's my point - even they do not compare favorably to big cats and many ungulates (among others) in terms of power, mainly because canidae's survival strategy has nothing to do with being a walking tank or a sleek, quiet killing machine. Even the biggest, strongest canids are built for endurance, speed, intelligence, keen senses, and group engagement, because canid bodies are not laid out for "I am become death destroyer of worlds."

    Dogs can absolutely be strong, fast, and vicious. IIRC fully 3/4 of dogs are wild, in fact. But the main reason to breed them for fighting is the other parts of the package - intelligence, endurance. and loyalty. If you could get tigers or crocodiles that behaved like dogs and could do cross-country like dogs, you'd see guard-tigers and attack-crocodiles in the historical record. But since dogs are pretty much unique in this respect, we use them for those tasks and breed them for power, even though they're not especially powerful as animals go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Agincourt seems to be a magnet for odd explanations that aren't actually needed.
    Well, it's the tenure thing. You get people to know your name by putting forth new ideas, quality optional. Agincourt is well-known, so it's easier to get a news feature about your weird, spurious hypothesis about it.

    I wonder if there are battles that have a similar role outside of the Anglophone sphere, in being the subject of endless, pointless speculation.
    Last edited by gkathellar; 2017-12-09 at 12:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Durkoala View Post
    Does anybody have any information about melee boomerangs? I saw a picture of one in a book long ago: it was was roughly the size of a sword and had a hooked edge to overcome shields, but I can't find any information about them.

    Iirc, there were non-hooked designs too and the caption said that they were often used with shields in close quarter fighting by austalian aboridgines.
    That sounds simply like some kind of curved club.

    E: turns out the name is waddy. Described as "an Aboriginal Australian war club" Some do look somewhat similar to boomerangs with their curves, while others do not.

    Last edited by Yora; 2017-12-09 at 01:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    They had no crossbows or armourpiercing weapons like medieaval Europe (in general, e.g. crossbows were used earlier in sieges amongst other things but seem to fall largely out of use).
    You missed out the bows, which in general are more powerful (as in more armor-piercing) than crossbow despite being much lower in actual poundage.

    As recent tests go, I am not sure if even the heaviest barely-handheld crossbow (i.e. 1200+ lbs steel arbalest) can match up with a heavy English warbow in power, let alone a Japanese bow.
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-12-09 at 04:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    As recent tests go, I am not sure if even the heaviest barely-handheld crossbow (i.e. 1200+ lbs steel arbalest) can match up with a heavy English warbow in power, let alone a Japanese bow.
    I'm not sure where you heard this, but it's incorrect.

    Here's a replica 1250lb draw crossbow that Tod Todeschini is shooting and in the comments, the bolt weighs 90g and initial velocity is ~55m/s, for an overall KE of 136J. Other papers I've read on similar draw weight crossbows place them in the 100+ J range.

    Meanwhile those same papers put a 140lb longbow putting out arrows at between 75-95J, depending on the type of arrow being shot (bodkin, lozenge, etc). I can't see a yumi outperforming an English longbow by much as it's generally the same bow type, despite the normal laminated composite construction.

    A recurve bow (particularly a turkic/mongolian composite design) is an different beast - they can usually shoot the same weight arrows as a long bow, but typically about 30-50fps faster, so ~106-160J if I've done my math right for a 140lb recurve, all other things being equal to that 140lb longbow.

    Edit: I should include my source as per the OP: A report of the findings of the Defence Academy warbow trials Part 1, Summer 2005; Arms and Armour Vol 4, No.1 2007; Bourke and Whetham.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2017-12-09 at 07:10 PM.

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

    If I remember correctly, the numbers from the famous Payne-Gallwey antique crossbow test firing were better than any modern reproduction too, which suggests there is still a lot of missing knowledge regarding crossbow construction. I think this is at least partially supported by such shots of the type Payne-Gallwey achieved being reasonably common in Medieval sources, although I couldn't quote any. This is all from reading earlier incarnations of this thread.

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

    Does anyone know how common it actually was for captured spies to be executed in either world war, or for soldiers captured in articles of enemy clothing to be shot? I know it was done, such as in the case of those German sabuteurs caught in New York, or those Germans in American uniforms at The Bulge, but was it universal? Like, did we basically always execute spies, or were they sometimes improsioned for the war instead? If the second, who made the decision? What about that scene in Fury, where a German soldier who put on an American jacket to keep warm is shot? I don't doubt soldiers sometimes lost their temper at seeing an enemy wearing a jacket they clearly took off a dead American and shot the offender, but was it common or typical? Nobody thinks he was a spy, after all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I'm not sure where you heard this, but it's incorrect.

    Here's a replica 1250lb draw crossbow that Tod Todeschini is shooting and in the comments, the bolt weighs 90g and initial velocity is ~55m/s, for an overall KE of 136J. Other papers I've read on similar draw weight crossbows place them in the 100+ J range.

    Meanwhile those same papers put a 140lb longbow putting out arrows at between 75-95J, depending on the type of arrow being shot (bodkin, lozenge, etc). I can't see a yumi outperforming an English longbow by much as it's generally the same bow type, despite the normal laminated composite construction.
    Aren't Primitive Archer test demonstrated a English warbow that achieved 160J? (I think the 75-95J figures are measured when the arrows hit their targets. Tod and Primitive Archer test measure the initial energy)

    Also, while Japanese bow looks outwardly similar to longbow, they actually shares a lot more similarities with asiatic recurves (unsuprisingly), in that it is recurved (storing more energy), and has one of the longest draw among traditional bows (36" to something like 43" if I remember correctly)
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-12-10 at 02:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haighus View Post
    If I remember correctly, the numbers from the famous Payne-Gallwey antique crossbow test firing were better than any modern reproduction too, which suggests there is still a lot of missing knowledge regarding crossbow construction. I think this is at least partially supported by such shots of the type Payne-Gallwey achieved being reasonably common in Medieval sources, although I couldn't quote any. This is all from reading earlier incarnations of this thread.
    I was probably in those discussions too, since it is in my particular interests. At the moment I am inclined to think that Payne's result as an outlier, and willing to put more trust on modern tests conducted with modern measuring technology.

    While I am sure ancient people had good reasons to make crossbows as they did, short powerstroke and light bolt weight put severe disadvantages on the power of medieval crossbow in term of delivered energy (which IMO can't be overcome by improving the efficiency of other parts of the crossbow. Instead one should just straightforwardly increase those two, or cram in even more draw weight, for better power).

    In modern archery it is recommeneded that you match the draw weight of bow with arrow (something like 5grain-per-pound depending on standard) for optimum performance. I don't know how applicable this is to crossbow, but using the same standard a 1000lbs crossbow should be shooting a 5000 grain superheavy bolt (324 gram) to achieve optimal result.
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-12-10 at 01:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    Aren't Primitive Archer test demonstrated a English warbow that achieved 160J? (I think the 75-95J figures are measured when the arrows hit their targets. Tod and Primitive Archer test measure the initial energy)

    Also, while Japanese bow looks outwardly similar to longbow, they actually shares a lot more similarities with asiatic recurves (unsuprisingly), in that it is recurved (storing more energy), and has one of the longest draw among traditional bows (36" to something like 43" if I remember correctly)
    Do you have a link to the test? I've poked about the site and can't find any test with values approaching 160J. All the energy values are calculated by shooting the arrow past a chronograph, which measures the arrow speed in flight - typically they're set up just after the arrow has cleared the bow so that you can confirm the arrow has entered and exited the chronography measurement area correctly, so the 75-95J figure is exactly the same setup as the crossbow test.

    While I agree that the yumi does appear recurved, nothing in the literature I've found indicates it has the same performance as one. I'm more than happy to be proved wrong if you have something that says otherwise.
    I agree that all other variables being equal, the higher draw weight would indicate greater stored energy, but a yumi would be tillered (constructed) so that that you would achieve maximum draw weight at full extension, which would give a lower gradient force/draw curve (easier and smoother to draw) rather than greater stored energy.

    One problem is that there doesn't appear to be anybody interested (at least nothing published in English) in verifying the historical performance of high draw weight yumi (Kyudo practitioners use 30lb draw bows apparently). Some other research also indicates that yumi draw weights didn't get up to the same heights as Mongol/Chinese/English bows, mostly because there wasn't a need for it; gusoku even with a nanban dou (western style one piece steel cuirass), wasn't as protective as plate harness, despite what all the rapid fans claim.

    While hunting around, I found this test by Joe Gibbs of the English Warbow Society with a 180lb Tartar bow and it shot a 63.3g arrow at 211 fps, which converts to 133J.

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    In modern archery it is recommeneded that you match the draw weight of bow with arrow (something like 5grain-per-pound depending on standard) for optimum performance. I don't know how applicable this is to crossbow, but using the same standard a 1000lbs crossbow should be shooting a 5000 grain superheavy bolt (324 gram) to achieve optimal result.
    While you would expect an efficiency improvement with using the correct projectile weight for the draw weight, I can't find a precise value for crossbows (pretty much everything I can find is for modern crossbows). While I agree that a bow is always going to be more efficient than a crossbow in terms of stored energy to projectile energy conversion, whether that can be used as an indicator of superior performance is more debatable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    *snip*
    Conquistadors used wardogs not in big battles, but during slave hunting raids in the Caribbean (which was illegal, but the Spanish government couldn't stop them), as a counter to guerrilla warfare, and as a psychological weapon to be used before and after battle.

    Dogs could track natives across the forest, neutralizing the advantage the natives' knowledge of the terrain gave them. Dogs could detect hidden people, ruining ambushes and finding natives who were trying to hide from slave catchers. Dogs could run faster than both people and horses in mountainsous terrain and woodlands. Dogs could awaken the Spaniards when the natives tried nocturnal attacks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxy View Post
    Does anyone know how common it actually was for captured spies to be executed in either world war
    In the second, at least a few turned (Nazi>-British) double agent (in many cases actively seeking the British out). The net effect was that I understand the whole of the German spy network in Britain was under British control (it helped that the leader of the German spy network in Germany, wasn't a big Nazi fan).
    These of course weren't executed, though they may have been threatened.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I'm not sure where you heard this, but it's incorrect.
    It is in fact correct!

    Here's a replica 1250lb draw crossbow that Tod Todeschini is shooting and in the comments, the bolt weighs 90g and initial velocity is ~55m/s, for an overall KE of 136J. Other papers I've read on similar draw weight crossbows place them in the 100+ J range.
    136 J ain't remotely impressive for a 1,250lb draw weight, and it's not even clear the crossbow in question performs that well. See this thread.

    If Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey's 440-460 yard shot with that refurbished 15th-century crossbow actually happened, that bow probably managed 200+ J. I tend to think that's how historical crossbows performed, but so far nobody's been able to recreate that.

    Meanwhile those same papers put a 140lb longbow putting out arrows at between 75-95J, depending on the type of arrow being shot (bodkin, lozenge, etc).
    That's how one of Mark Stretton's lower-quality bows performed, yes. The Mary Rose replica 150lb yew bow tested for The Great Warbow performed rather better, up to 146 J with a heavy arrow and still 111 J with the lightest arrows tested.

    A mere 82lb Manchu bow supposedly managed 135 J with a heavy arrow. There's probably something wrong with that test, but theoretical calculations suggest very impressive performance from Manchu bows.

    With typical light arrows, a 110lb Turkish bow only reaches just under 100 J. Such a bow could get 120+ J with heavy arrows, but there's not evidence for this for Turkish archery specifically.

    I can't see a yumi outperforming an English longbow by much as it's generally the same bow type, despite the normal laminated composite construction.
    Some yumi had really long draws, which helps with energy storage. But I've never seen any good numbers for historical-style Japanese bows.
    Last edited by Incanur; 2017-12-10 at 04:55 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Speaking of longbows and recurves, I've read there was some evidence of recurved tips on some of the longbows recovered from the Mary Rose wreck. Dunno how true this is, or what impact that would have on the bows performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    You missed out the bows, which in general are more powerful (as in more armor-piercing) than crossbow despite being much lower in actual poundage.
    I haven't actually missed out bows because it's clear they aren't drivers towards platearmour either in Europe, Japan or anywhere else for that matter. If bows were so armourpiercing then logically better armour would have been developed earlier surely? And what would the point of the crossbow be seeing that an archer can shoot what a dozen arrows for the crossbowman's one? If bows are per definition more powerful and more armour piercing than crossbows?

    Makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

    As Galloglaich has noted before, crossbows and guns were often used to proof armours. Not so much bows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    I haven't actually missed out bows because it's clear they aren't drivers towards platearmour either in Europe, Japan or anywhere else for that matter. If bows were so armourpiercing then logically better armour would have been developed earlier surely? And what would the point of the crossbow be seeing that an archer can shoot what a dozen arrows for the crossbowman's one? If bows are per definition more powerful and more armour piercing than crossbows?

    Makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

    As Galloglaich has noted before, crossbows and guns were often used to proof armours. Not so much bows.
    During the Renaissance they called "bulletproof" an armor able to stop pistol and aequebuss bullets, "fullproof" one able to stop military crossbow bolts, and "halfproof" one able to stop longbow arrows. Halfproof < Fullproof<Bulletproof.

    Of course, I can accept those abnormal monsters they found aboard the Mary Rose were probably more powerful than many crossbows, but on average crossbow>longbow...
    Last edited by Clistenes; Yesterday at 01:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxy View Post
    Does anyone know how common it actually was for captured spies to be executed in either world war, or for soldiers captured in articles of enemy clothing to be shot? I know it was done, such as in the case of those German sabuteurs caught in New York, or those Germans in American uniforms at The Bulge, but was it universal? Like, did we basically always execute spies, or were they sometimes improsioned for the war instead? If the second, who made the decision? What about that scene in Fury, where a German soldier who put on an American jacket to keep warm is shot? I don't doubt soldiers sometimes lost their temper at seeing an enemy wearing a jacket they clearly took off a dead American and shot the offender, but was it common or typical? Nobody thinks he was a spy, after all.
    While I can't say how common it was, bear in mind that there's also a third option: subversion. I've read that the English in particular were fond of double agents during WW2, and that they had a really shocking number of them.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    It's unlikely the bows from the Mary Rose were particularly abnormal or monstrous. And even that 150lb Mary Rose replica doesn't perform as well as much lighter Manchu bows and other composites shooting heavy arrows probably did.

    Honestly, given yew longbow performance, they need that 150-160lb draw weight. And there are records of similar draw weights for infantry archers across the world, such as this Ming-era source.

    A high-quality 150lb Turkish-style composite bow might manage 180+ J with a heavy arrow based on replicas. Late Ming-era bows were probably somewhere in between Turkish and Manchu designs.

    Some period sources do indicate that crossbows were more powerful than bows, but many others treat bows and crossbows as equivalent and some emphasize the power of bows.

    Conceptually I agree that crossbows should be more powerful, but current replicas fall short of that mark.

    It's possible that European nongunpowder projectile weapons were just bad compared with their Chinese-region counterparts.
    Last edited by Incanur; Yesterday at 02:00 PM.
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