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

    Quote Originally Posted by KarlMarx View Post
    In general, it was pretty dependent on local conditions, culture, etc., and varied heavily.

    Roman legionaries carried a lot of supplies, as well as cooking implements--they earned the nickname 'Marius' Mules', after a famous commander, for the amounts of equipment and supplies they carried. At the same time, the Romans were certainly not above foraging from local terrain, and certain soldiers were exempted from labor duties--building camps, etc.--instead functioning as hunters.

    Greek hoplites generally fought campaigns within a few day's march of their homes, and thus would be less dependent on carried food.

    Quite frankly, I don't know much about other ancient armies, though I'd say from what I do know that the Assyrians especially were known for having large supply trains for food and other things.

    All in all, though, it probably depended on the season, availability of food, and duration of campaign, and was extremely flexible.
    Actually, the reason legionaries from Marius onwards were nicknamed "Mules" was because they had to carry their own equipment. As opposed to slaves and other servants doing all of that in earlier armies. One of the reasons he was able to get away with that imposition on his men is because he recruited from the urban poor, instead of the traditional rural yeomanry.

    Greek hoplites were as often mercenaries for other cities or empires, so while they might have always fought close to home during the Peloponnesian War, that wasn't the case in other contexts.

    Hellenistic armies had sophisticated supply arrangements - necessary due to the size of armies and the distances they covered. For example, Demetrios Poliorketes would not have been able to maintain the siege of Rhodes for over a year, with hundreds of thousands of soldiers and slaves, without a very comprehensive commissary arrangement.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    How much food/water did ancient armies typically carry? Like... Did they ring just enough to survive? Did they bring as much as possible, just to be safe? Something in-between? How dependent were armies from seizing food/water from enemies/locals?
    “Carrying three day worth of ration" is a common ancient Chinese saying that more or less means the army was going light. Either they need to force march really quickly, or they are special operation force that operate behind enemy line and do not expect regular resupply.

    I recall reading some Qing Dynasty campaign that brought eighty to one hunderd days worth of food for every troops and horses with them (i.e. they could go on campaign for 80 days without needing to forage & resupply), but Qing had pretty abnomal logistic capabilities even by Chinese standard, so I am not sure if that is "typical" or not.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    A question though, how easily can one performs single time counter with guardless weapon? i.e. in a quarterstaff vs quarterstaff fight.
    Take a look a zwerchau (the single-time cut that Galloglaich mentioned earlier); I think it'll be illustrative. It's executed without the crossguard, but you wouldn't want to try it without at least basic hand protection, as a mistimed move could result in the loss of your hand.

    (At least assuming the versions I could find were any good.)
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Take a look a zwerchau (the single-time cut that Galloglaich mentioned earlier); I think it'll be illustrative. It's executed without the crossguard, but you wouldn't want to try it without at least basic hand protection, as a mistimed move could result in the loss of your hand.

    (At least assuming the versions I could find were any good.)
    I agree.

    I haven't really trained with staff, but it seems that your hands are much morre in harms way than with a sword, so while it should be possible to counter in time, I'd say it's risky.

    Even with a sword with n o guard, you're holding the back of it, far from the dangerous bits. With a staff, you've got at least on hand at the middle-ish
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    Thanks for the explanation, that clarify a lot of things for me (especially on the "don't need complex guard" part). That being said, the two points I suggested, while no longer absolute, are still GENERALLY true, aren't they?

    (in the sense that having longer sword and better guard do help a great deal and encourage this type of techniques)

    A question though, how easily can one performs single time counter with guardless weapon? i.e. in a quarterstaff vs quarterstaff fight.
    As gthalkar mentioned, it's a bit riskier, but you can also do this - for example you could do something like a zwerchau with a staff, you would just need to make sure you did it with a bit more consciousness of where you contacted their weapon.


    (This is beside the point of swordmanship/complex guard discussion)

    Umm, you mean, they didn't formally drill the troops in formation maneuvering (advancing/retreating/disengage/change direction) back then?
    Yes, that is what I mean. We have very little evidence of formal drill like that in the medieval period. They must have done some, but it seems to have been more "On the Job Training". The first evidence I know of formal drill in the medieval period comes at the very end, both related to the Swiss - in one case Berne and I think one or two of the other cities started putting some of "their" peasants through drills to incorporate them into their army, and in the other Emperor Maximillian hired Swiss veterans and used them to train Swabian peasants to become the original Landsknechts. Both of these cases were in the final quarter of the 15th Century.

    There were probably other cases but they seem to be exceedingly rare. For a long time this led to a wide variety of assumptions, ranging from the notion that medieval armies couldn't do complex infantry maneuvers .... sometimes even in the face of direct evidence that they did, but this was gradually debunked. The other assumption is that they just didn't leave any records of it for some reason.

    But the video I linked upthread outlines what seems like the theory which fits the data the best: they didn't really do formal drill. They did individual skills training in the form of games like tournaments, jousts, shooting contests, fencing contests, wrestling contests, organized stick-fights, horse-races, water jousting, bear baiting etc. etc.; they did hunting in an extremely organized manner similar to battle, and they engaged in more or less continual low-intensity warfare and deployments (like marching out to surround some enemy castle). So the 'new recruits' so to speak would just join the existing knightly vassals, or militia, or mercenary company, and learn on the job. When they got there they would typically bring their own weapons and be expected to know how to use any weapon the brought with them pretty well.

    The emphasis on warlike games and hunting can also be seen in many other cultures too, such as the Vikings, the Celts, and many of the Steppe Nomads, who did some of the same games. It kind of seems to fit with the nomadic lifestyle intuitively. But the incorporation of war-sports so to speak as the main type of training in the medieval world seems very odd to the modern mind. It's one of the stark differences between our culture today and then.

    Someone mentioned board games - these too (like Chess and Hrnaftl) were considered prep for war and taken very seriously.

    There's a revival movement of sort for Persian/Iranian martial arts, in the same vein as HEMA, known as Razmafzar. I learned a great deal from their YouTube channel (they use English and do a bit of cross-discipline sparring with the HEMA folk).

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    Wow that's fascinating, thanks for posting, really interesting I didn't know that had come so far. I had heard some chatter ... I think there are similar things going on in Turkey and Egypt, and the Sikhs have been doing Gatka forever and have links to HEMA particularly in the UK. I will spread this news though I wasn't aware.

    Chinese sword blade is generally stiffer than its European counterpart, because they don't taper the blade that much. I think flexible yet tough blade is only really feasible with superior European metallurgy.
    Didn't know that either - I thought the Jian in particular was flexible but I guess I am just going by 'Crouching Tiger / Hidden Dragon' ;)



    Japanese sword quality also plummeted after the Koto period (i.e. after Sengoku Jidai concluded), as they made their sword increasingly ornate but less functional. Sword smithing traditions nearly went extinct, in fact. Some lineage struggled but somewhat survived, and there were later attempts to revive the tradition, but then modernization happened, then war happened, and they lost the war, forcing many sword smiths to went underground until relatively recent time.

    (I think the bad reputation of Katana being "if you bend it, it stays bend" also comes from this, most surviving antiques come after their sword quality plummeted. It does bend if you subject the blade to very serious abusing though.)

    Which may be another reason why they didn't develop complex guard. “Older is better" was actually true for them during that period (that and they're cut off from outside influence).
    Very interesting didn't know that either.

    They do seem to have adapted Portuguese armor and that arquebus too but I remember they 'froze' the arquebus design into some sub-optimal snap trigger which was only used in Europe for 20 years or something. And they never really developed cannon to any serious extent.

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  6. - Top - End - #216
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    I agree.

    I haven't really trained with staff, but it seems that your hands are much morre in harms way than with a sword, so while it should be possible to counter in time, I'd say it's risky.

    Even with a sword with n o guard, you're holding the back of it, far from the dangerous bits. With a staff, you've got at least on hand at the middle-ish
    There are kind of two ways to hold a staff or a pole-arm, in a nutshell 'half staff' and 'quarter staff'. The latter means you are holding it in the back quarter, getting the most out of the reach. You don't go to holding it in the middle until and unless you are close.

    That is the neat thing about a staff, you get the reach but when you are close in you change how you use it and can still strike and parry in the krieg very well.

    Staff, pike, pollarm, halberd etc. fighting relies on a lot of the same kind of leverage (putting your strong on their weak) and if you know what you are doing you can do techniques similar to the mastercuts, albeit with greater vulnerability to your hands.

    They do recommend using gauntlets with polearms in the period literature though.



    I think the guards on a sword just make it so that it takes less time and requires less thought to protect your hands, if that makes sense.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Didn't know that either - I thought the Jian in particular was flexible but I guess I am just going by 'Crouching Tiger / Hidden Dragon' ;)
    As always, entertainment media are poor sources to research real-life arms & armors. Chinese movies can be particularly bad in this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    Very interesting didn't know that either.

    They do seem to have adapted Portuguese armor and that arquebus too but I remember they 'froze' the arquebus design into some sub-optimal snap trigger which was only used in Europe for 20 years or something. And they never really developed cannon to any serious extent.

    G
    Post-Sengoku, Japanese armor also became increasingly ornate and less practical. The plain yet practical Tosei-Gusoku style armor evolved (devolved?) into a style that resemble, but not quite the same as, the o-yoroi of old. Pauldrons became larger again, more blings being attached to armor, and Japanese helmets put most fantasy helmet to shame.

    In the case of arquebus, that really wasn't the Japanese's fault - pretty much entire Southeast Asia & Far East was like that. That's because Portuguese-controlled Goa Arsenal in India continued to churn out arquebus of that design, and the technology spread all over that region. Only two exceptions exist AFAIK: The rest of India preferred a Turkish-inspired design, while the Chinese just reverse-engineered everything they get their hands on (so they had Portuguese-Goa, Japanese, European, and Turkish arquebus in their arsenal, although Japanese version still remained the most popular until nearly the end of Ming. By Qing period they switched to a design that resemble Indian/Afghanistan-style).

    Also, snapping matchlock really isn't inferior to other type of matchlock, just different (and comes with different set of advantage/disadvantage). Snap-matchlock is spring-powered, so it is the fastest of the matchlock mechanism, which means less delay and more accuracy (due to how black powder gun works, there's a noticeable delay between pulling the trigger and the gun actually firing. The shooter is likely to fumble during that delay and disturb the aim. Snap matchlock reduces this delay to a minimum, thus improving accuracy).

    The downsides are that snap matchlock is more complicated to make, you need to **** it after firing (not much of a downside unless you want to shoot/reload as fast as possible), and sudden snapping of the serpentine may extinguish the match.

    As for cannon, Japan's heavily forested mountainous terrain makes heavy artillery unfeasible, so they didn't feel the need to mass-adopt. They also had enough trouble providing ammo for their matchlocks (Japan does not produce saltpeter naturally, and produces very little lead. Luckily they knew how to make saltpeter out of urine...)
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-08-24 at 01:20 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    The downsides are that snap matchlock is more complicated to make, you need to **** it after firing (not much of a downside unless you want to shoot/reload as fast as possible)
    I beg your pardon?

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

    I'm guessing that the word in **** is a word for the action of pulling back and setting the hammer on a firearm such that it is set to release when the trigger is pulled. Also another word for a rooster.

    Reminds me of the forum that censored the words assassin, assassination, and assassinate, because of the particular repeated syllable.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Well, you know that African landlocked country south of Libya and north of Nigeria? *****? You can't talk about it here.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    I beg your pardon?
    My god, what have I done?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance
    The downsides are that snap matchlock is more complicated to make, you need to CHICKEN it after firing (not much of a downside unless you want to shoot/reload as fast as possible)
    Here, fixed ;)
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-08-24 at 09:34 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    Snap-matchlock is spring-powered, so it is the fastest of the matchlock mechanism, which means less delay and more accuracy (due to how black powder gun works, there's a noticeable delay between pulling the trigger and the gun actually firing. The shooter is likely to fumble during that delay and disturb the aim. Snap matchlock reduces this delay to a minimum, thus improving accuracy).

    The downsides are that snap matchlock is more complicated to make, you need to **** it after firing (not much of a downside unless you want to shoot/reload as fast as possible), and sudden snapping of the serpentine may extinguish the match.
    The accuracy issue is debated -- the action of the snapping matchlock is more abrupt and less controllable than a sear style matchlock. At least that's one of the arguments.

    The sudden snapping of the action could extinguish the match, but could also cause it to fall out. In fact, there's evidence that most snapping matchlocks were actually "tinder-locks". Instead of placing the match in the c0ck they would put a small piece of tinder fungus and light it with the match. The tinder was expendable, and was probably replaced after each shot (would be dangerous otherwise). The evidence for this is depictions from the early 1500s. It's possible that such actions were designed to use either tinder or match, but I've seen claims on the internet that the jaws of the c0ck indicate which kind.

    Why exactly the snapping lock mechanism fell out of favor isn't entirely clear. It may have been it was complicated, it may have been that it was better suited for tinder, and the extra hassle of having to deal with a piece of tinder was seen as unnecessary. Or it just may have been that a sear-lock mechanism was cheaper and easier to produce.

    From experience, the step of placing the match in the c0ck is the most fiddly step. I've heard that when in a rush, they skipped that step, and simply touched off the priming powder by hand (like an older handgonne). Lists of weapons, and depictions, into the 1530s still show that there were some arquebuses being made without a lock, and were clearly using this method.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    As for cannon, Japan's heavily forested mountainous terrain makes heavy artillery unfeasible, so they didn't feel the need to mass-adopt. They also had enough trouble providing ammo for their matchlocks (Japan does not produce saltpeter naturally, and produces very little lead. Luckily they knew how to make saltpeter out of urine...)
    There's a bit more to it than that. Many of the really important castles were constructed on the floodplains, the economic centres of feudal Japan (hence controlling significant concentrations of wealth). So it's not just about getting to hilltop castles.

    Just in general the Japanese seem to have escewed heavy siege weaponry, not just cannon, even though they knew about them and occasionally made use of such. Even when such things could be more easily used.

    In the last stages of Sengoku Jidai both the Western and Eastern armies got hold of any cannon they could and merchant vessels with cannon would often have any cannon "bought" by the Japanese. And the siege of Osaka used quite a few on both sides, though much lighter than what would have been the case in Europe.

    I would point out Japanese castles were generally much weaker structurally than European counterparts. And much weaker to escalades due to their construction. Basically you lack the high vertical and solid stone walls European castles had to stop people 1) climbing over and 2) smashing through. Being an earthquake prone area made the European style pretty much unfeasible and their solution to earthquake resistance dictated a lot of castle design.
    They were also very vulnerable to fire (being largely constructed from wood) and many a castle taking ended with the whole thing burning accidentally or not.

    Something that may also matter is how an European castle is usually one major fixed point whereas Japanese fortifications could be more of an mutually supportive chain of smaller fortifications. A factor of the generally mountainous terrain to a large degree I'm sure. So not only is it a bit difficult to get siege equipment in palce, you have to redo it 3-4 times for the same general area.

    Somewhat impacting on tactics I'd say is also the social/cultural aspects of the samurai, without myth-bushidoing this. There were strong economic incentives (rewards for acts of bravery and "glory") to go for a more costly storming than just trying to burn the whole thing down around the defenders. As mentioned earlier compared to a European castle it was generally much easier and less suicidal to try.

    It's an interesting question, because despite having options direct assault after a storm of arrows and shot tended to be the go to option. They definitely knew about and probably had the technology to make some, they just seem to large have stopped using it. IIRC might have been tied into the samurai coalecing as a class. About the time armies went from being government affairs to more "privatized" rent-an-soldier types as the samurai started out as.

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

    Not strickly a militiary question here, but what are the benefits of traveling up river by boat, specificly like biremes and oar driven Galleys?Obviously not steam powered and such. Is it strickly a cargo capacity thing, supplies and ship mounted artillary, or is it actually potentially faster than traveling on foot even against currents, less exhausting? I understand the Vikings often dragged their long ships out of the water and carried them, but from what i read that was more to account for impassable sections of the rivers than anything else? I remeber stories of the egyptians having their barges pulled by animals from the shore, but its been too long to trust my memory of such things, like the circumstances for doing it.

    My internet searches are failing to find the answers i seek, so any help is appreciated.

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

    @wolflance

    Anyways, overall I agree that japanese firearms were not really inferior to European matchlocks, they just had different strengths and weaknesses. According to accounts from the imjin wars Japanese muskets were effective from up to several hundred paces away and were more accurate than chinese-style "victory guns". In sieges the Japanese would apparently rely on building towers or otherwise gaining high ground with their gunmen and then shooting down on top of the defenders to drive them from the walls.

    One interesting difference is that apparently the full shoulder stock never really caught on in japan. However we know that shooting from the shoulder took a long time to become the standard method in europe as well, perhaps it only improved accuracy much when it came to larger caliber muskets.

    There's also this video which has been posted before with a Japanese reenactor reloading his matchlock quickly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-lGCtbg580

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

    Quote Originally Posted by wobner View Post
    Not strickly a militiary question here, but what are the benefits of traveling up river by boat, specificly like biremes and oar driven Galleys?Obviously not steam powered and such. Is it strickly a cargo capacity thing, supplies and ship mounted artillary, or is it actually potentially faster than traveling on foot even against currents, less exhausting? I understand the Vikings often dragged their long ships out of the water and carried them, but from what i read that was more to account for impassable sections of the rivers than anything else? I remeber stories of the egyptians having their barges pulled by animals from the shore, but its been too long to trust my memory of such things, like the circumstances for doing it.

    My internet searches are failing to find the answers i seek, so any help is appreciated.
    Depending on the river, the boat, and the crew, rowing can be pretty fast. A lot of rivers don't flow that quickly. Moreover, rivers tend to be already flat and clear of obstacles, whereas it can be difficult to find a path overland. I was on the rowing team in college and, while those boats are obviously a lot more streamlined than galleys, and thus experience the flow of the river less, I can tell you that rowing upstream was plenty fast and practical.
    Plus, as you mentioned, using a boat of any kind (well, except racing shells) means your cargo capacity becomes much better than traveling on foot.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    I would point out Japanese castles were generally much weaker structurally than European counterparts. And much weaker to escalades due to their construction. Basically you lack the high vertical and solid stone walls European castles had to stop people 1) climbing over and 2) smashing through. Being an earthquake prone area made the European style pretty much unfeasible and their solution to earthquake resistance dictated a lot of castle design.
    They were also very vulnerable to fire (being largely constructed from wood) and many a castle taking ended with the whole thing burning accidentally or not.
    While true, Japanese castles were designed to be defended differently. The internal layout was designed to be a maze, so attackers ended up in switchbacks, dead ends and other obstacles that exposed them to enfilade fire from arrows/rocks/other defender fire. Now that I think about it, I suppose that style of defence isn't too far from the principles of a tower defence game.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    It's an interesting question, because despite having options direct assault after a storm of arrows and shot tended to be the go to option. They definitely knew about and probably had the technology to make some, they just seem to large have stopped using it. IIRC might have been tied into the samurai coalecing as a class. About the time armies went from being government affairs to more "privatized" rent-an-soldier types as the samurai started out as.
    I would say that it was more that they didn't really need it during the Edo period. In my opinion, it's only after the Bakumatsu and their various battles against western nations that they realised 'oh crap, we need better cannon' and started the rapid modernisation of the Meiji era.

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

    I was in Greece the last week and was to the bronze age fortress in Mycene. While it's on an easily defensible hill that is very well integrated into the defenses, I found it quite unusual that it is pretty far away from the coast. The current port of the region goes back to Mycenaean times as well, so it's not a case of shifting coastlines.

    Having a harbor seems to have been a distinguishing feature of nearly all the major city states in Greek antiquity. Does anyone know if this was different during the bronze age and what reason there might have been to put the fortress that far inland?
    The port at Napflio has its own fortress that looks really formidable. Any reason why the Mycenaeans would have preferred not to use such an obvious advantageous location that allows a fortress and port in one spot?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I was in Greece the last week and was to the bronze age fortress in Mycene. While it's on an easily defensible hill that is very well integrated into the defenses, I found it quite unusual that it is pretty far away from the coast. The current port of the region goes back to Mycenaean times as well, so it's not a case of shifting coastlines.

    Having a harbor seems to have been a distinguishing feature of nearly all the major city states in Greek antiquity. Does anyone know if this was different during the bronze age and what reason there might have been to put the fortress that far inland?
    The port at Napflio has its own fortress that looks really formidable. Any reason why the Mycenaeans would have preferred not to use such an obvious advantageous location that allows a fortress and port in one spot?
    It seems to me that they also considered hilltops to be important locations for reasons of both defense and religion.

    How far was it from Mycene to the port, there? Athens was about 5 miles from Piraeus.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    The accuracy issue is debated -- the action of the snapping matchlock is more abrupt and less controllable than a sear style matchlock. At least that's one of the arguments.

    The sudden snapping of the action could extinguish the match, but could also cause it to fall out. In fact, there's evidence that most snapping matchlocks were actually "tinder-locks". Instead of placing the match in the c0ck they would put a small piece of tinder fungus and light it with the match. The tinder was expendable, and was probably replaced after each shot (would be dangerous otherwise). The evidence for this is depictions from the early 1500s. It's possible that such actions were designed to use either tinder or match, but I've seen claims on the internet that the jaws of the c0ck indicate which kind.

    Why exactly the snapping lock mechanism fell out of favor isn't entirely clear. It may have been it was complicated, it may have been that it was better suited for tinder, and the extra hassle of having to deal with a piece of tinder was seen as unnecessary. Or it just may have been that a sear-lock mechanism was cheaper and easier to produce.

    From experience, the step of placing the match in the c0ck is the most fiddly step. I've heard that when in a rush, they skipped that step, and simply touched off the priming powder by hand (like an older handgonne). Lists of weapons, and depictions, into the 1530s still show that there were some arquebuses being made without a lock, and were clearly using this method.
    I would argue that abrupt snapping is still miles better than having multiple moving fingers pulling the bar trigger (as in European matchlock, although not all matchlock use bar trigger) till the very end. I imagine it will be much harder to force the gun to stay stable if the gunner is actively moving his hand/fingers.

    However, this topic is indeed still up for debate.

    Anyway, maybe snapping tinder-lock was used in Europe, but I am fairly certain this design/practice never spread to Far East, since I've never heard of it in any source I came across.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Awesome info about Japanese castles & cannon
    Thanks for the info. Yes, even the few cannons they used are comparatively light by European standard...perhaps only equal to a 3~6-pdr regimental gun or something.

    Apparently they rarely used wheeled carriage, adding even more trouble to transport heavier pieces.


    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    @wolflance
    Japanese muskets were effective from up to several hundred paces away and were more accurate than chinese-style "victory guns". In sieges the Japanese would apparently rely on building towers or otherwise gaining high ground with their gunmen and then shooting down on top of the defenders to drive them from the walls.

    There's also this video which has been posted before with a Japanese reenactor reloading his matchlock quickly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-lGCtbg580
    "Victory Gun" is actually a Korean (not Chinese) handgonne, proper name Seungja-Chongtong 승자총통. Any matchlock gun worth its salt will outrange it.

    It is very hard to gauge "weapon superiority/inferiority" due to a variety of criteria that can be used/have to be considered. For example, if we judge by firepower alone, then European heavy musket is decidedly superior to Japanese arquebus. Judge by craftsmanship, then they are about equal (I think). This will be further complicated if we consider multiple factors together.

    My connection is real bad right now so I played the video on lowest resolution. I am guessing maybe he's using hayago (pre-loaded reusable bamboo tube "catridge") to be able to shoot that fast.

    The siege technique ("fixed" siege tower to attack defenders on the wall) is a continuation of ancient practice that had been around since China's Warring States period (they used bows & crossbows back then though).
    Last edited by wolflance; 2017-08-25 at 01:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    I would argue that abrupt snapping is still miles better than having multiple moving fingers pulling the bar trigger (as in European matchlock, although not all matchlock use bar trigger) till the very end. I imagine it will be much harder to force the gun to stay stable if the gunner is actively moving his hand/fingers.

    However, this topic is indeed still up for debate.
    The smoothness of the action is the issue. I haven't handled originals, but the well made reproductions have a light well balanced pull, and the action doesn't involve much "twisting" of the wrist. Some of the Indian reproductions have a stronger sear-spring and the action is less smooth.

    Even on modern weapons the amount of force needed on the trigger pull is considered an issue. Although there are other factors.

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    Anyway, maybe snapping tinder-lock was used in Europe, but I am fairly certain this design/practice never spread to Far East, since I've never heard of it in any source I came across.
    Actually, there doesn't appear to be evidence for it any source I've read, even for Europe. The evidence has been presented on the internet, and is based upon study of the imagery from the time. At the very least nobody has discovered any detailed instructions of how to load and fire an arquebus from the late 15th or early 16th centuries.

    I make no claim to how they were used in Asia, except to note that matchlocks were used for a very long time there. (I actually knew someone who, in basic training, used a matchlock -- I assume as a drill rifle).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    It seems to me that they also considered hilltops to be important locations for reasons of both defense and religion.

    How far was it from Mycene to the port, there? Athens was about 5 miles from Piraeus.
    A bit over 20 km. A considerable distance that would take men on foot a good part of a day to cover, even with roads.

    One idea I just got is that it might have been deliberately placed away from the coast as a defence against sea raids. Vision from Mycene over the valley and to the coast is fantastic, and with that distance any raiders reaching the beaches could be spotted a long time before they got anywhere near the city. This would provide plenty of time to evacuate all nearby farms and villages to the castle, including supplies.
    With settlements directly at the shore surprise raids would be much more of a risk.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    One important factor is the presence of drinkable water. And yes, the position with sight on the sea was likely a deliberate choice. In general, Mycenae reminds me of Vetulonia, enormous walls and all of that.

    Concerning later times, AFAIK Sparta didn't have a close harbour. I don't think Argos did. Then there's Elis. In general, however, it's true that most important cities did have a harbour. But I think it's because of a circle: Greece was a poor country. The inland wasn't very productive, with the exception of a few good agricultural areas. Even good metal sources were hard to find. Sparta was hogging on a huge part of Peloponnesus, which kind of made other cities nearby irrelevant. Athens was born from the political union of many villages to an ancient fortress on a hill. Thebes also was in the inland, built around a hill fortress. But colonies were easiest built on the coast, since it gave easy connection to the metropolis. Many of the largest, richest Greek cities were actually colonies. If you have a harbour, you can trade with the colonies and with the non-Greek cities, and get larger in spite of the fact that your territory is small and poor. When there are too many inhabitants for the territory, you build another colony (Sparta and Athens built very few colonies because they had large territories to rely upon).

    So there were multiple factors why most large cities had a harbour: very few inland cities were powerful enough to control enough inland territory and be internationally relevant; there was a planned colonization effort that created harbour cities; a poor territory meant that commerce was the best way to generate wealth. Very large cities ended up having a port even though they were inland cities (Sparta technically had a port, 40 km south of the city!), as a result of their expansive influence.

    So in the case of Mycenae it's possible that the city was first meant as an inland city, and later achieved enough wealth, power and territory to have a detached harbour. You can compare Rome and its port, Ostia (and, much later, Portus).

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    It is very hard to gauge "weapon superiority/inferiority" due to a variety of criteria that can be used/have to be considered. For example, if we judge by firepower alone, then European heavy musket is decidedly superior to Japanese arquebus. Judge by craftsmanship, then they are about equal (I think). This will be further complicated if we consider multiple factors together.
    During the 16th century most European soldiers would have still been armed with smaller arquebuses or calivers, which were more similar in size to most japanese matchlocks. So up until the decline of major conflicts in japan I would say that japanese guns were essentially on par with european ones for the most part. In addition to the arquebus, the japanese infantry had access to larger caliber guns or even handheld cannons as well. This passage from the other link:

    "The sound of their muskets was terribly loud and intimidating, and the bullets crossed the river to fall down in the fortress. Some of the longest shots, flying over a distance of more than a thousand paces, fell on the roof tiles of Taedonggwan Hall. Some of them even drove as deep as several inches into the wooden columns of the battlements."

    seems to indicate some guns firing a pretty heavy bullet capable of retaining enough energy to penetrate wood even at a very long distance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Incanur View Post
    Humphrey Barwick assigned arquebusiers swords and daggers without commenting on hilt style but specified a simple cross only for pikers, who wore gauntlets, and halberdiers, who apparently didn't have gauntlets (it's not perfectly clear).
    Getting back to this for a moment, Barwick wasn't the only writer to recommend soldiers with shorter polearms be less well armored than pikemen. I don't know whether it really improves combat ability, but I suspect part of this is that the "short weapons" troops were often expected to pursue fleeing infantry or help protect the shot during skirmishes, and thus needed to be more mobile.
    Last edited by rrgg; 2017-08-25 at 05:48 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by wobner View Post
    Not strickly a militiary question here, but what are the benefits of traveling up river by boat, specificly like biremes and oar driven Galleys?Obviously not steam powered and such. Is it strickly a cargo capacity thing, supplies and ship mounted artillary, or is it actually potentially faster than traveling on foot even against currents, less exhausting? I understand the Vikings often dragged their long ships out of the water and carried them, but from what i read that was more to account for impassable sections of the rivers than anything else? I remeber stories of the egyptians having their barges pulled by animals from the shore, but its been too long to trust my memory of such things, like the circumstances for doing it.

    My internet searches are failing to find the answers i seek, so any help is appreciated.
    Prior to (and during the early part of) the age of the railroad, people were spending massive quantities of labor and capital to construct artificial rivers for horse-drawn boats. The fact that this was considered an economical alternative to building roads pretty much guarantees that the river was faster and carried more cargo/passengers than a road-based means of transport.

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

    The problem with roads is that they have to be build at a great expense first. If you don't have an already existing road, travel over land, especially with cargo, can be really slow. And since rivers already form a network connected by the sea, settlements with river access tended to become the most important places for trade, so that almost all places worth visiting were accessible by boat.

    While getting a boat up a river can mean considerable work, you always will be going down that river again and then you get it powered for free. So the actual work of rowing or pulling is only half.

    It's also important to remember that on water you have minimal friction and odds to get stuck. With carts on a road you have the wheels rubbing on the axles and digging into the mud. With this in mind, the labor of rowing or pulling a boat floating on water is again relatively low.

    If you get the lucky situation to have wind blow upriver, you can also use sails for power. And if you hav3 triangular sails and a sufficiently large river (which doesn't have to be much based on the size of your boat) you can even sail upriver when the wind is blowing downriver. Though I believe this type of sail only became widespread around the start of the middle ages, when lots of great cities were already very old.

    --

    While I was in Greece, we had to fill out a day and made a little detour to see a small local museum in a town I never heard of in the Mycene area. And on display they had the full original Dendra Panoply. I've seen is described as the oldest existing suit of metal armor or the oldest existing armor in the western world. I know that there's at least one pretty well preserved suit of bone armor from Siberia that is estimated to be 600 years older, but do we have any actual metal armor from anywhere in the world that predates 1400 BCE? And was the Dendra armor unique or do we have fragments and depictions from other sourves as well? At least for the boar tusk helmet that goes with it I've seen several examples and plenty of contemporary depiction, so that one was at least to some degree common in the area at that time.
    I think the Dendra Panoply is a really pretty ugly armor that looks really cumbersome, but unexpectedly running into one of the most significant artifacts in the history of armor was still really cool.
    Last edited by Yora; 2017-08-27 at 03:55 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Rivers are a bit like railways, very little friction compared to roads, especially medieval roads. Plus they are already there, and they likely will remain there. I remember that the Rhone was used this way to travel towards Paris in the XVI century, and likely earlier and later too.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by wolflance View Post
    The downsides are that snap matchlock is more complicated to make, you need to **** it after firing (not much of a downside unless you want to shoot/reload as fast as possible), and sudden snapping of the serpentine may extinguish the match.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    https://books.google.com/books?id=DE...=lance&f=false

    So the claim that wounds made by a small triangular bayonet are more deadly is one I've heard pretty often before, however I recently came across an example from an actual early 19th century medical book, where the author argues that bayonet wounds are actually more dangerous than lance wounds because the small opening does not allow material to flow out very easily. This seems sort of counter-intuitive to me since I always assumed one of the advantages of a leaf blade or a broad headed arrow was that it did more damage during penetration and was thus more deadly.

    Does anyone know very much about the survivability of puncture wounds?

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

    I think it has something to do with the fact that fluids not discharged may turn into a focus of infection, or lead to retained blood complications.

    You can try wikipedia's page on drain (surgery), which I won't link because it contains graphic material, and those about retained blood complications and pericardial tamponade. These problems are something that can come up after surgery, but I guess that something similar may happen if you are inflicted a wound that cannot discharge outwards and your fluids accumulate at the wrong places.

    Anyway, I think there is a physician who follows this thread, so he might give you better info.

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