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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    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?
    I thought the reasoning was that triangular wounds are much more complex to heal than simple linear punctures?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    I thought the reasoning was that triangular wounds are much more complex to heal than simple linear punctures?
    The reason I heard was that a triangular bayonet was stronger due to its shape and therefore could withstand higher stresses. This meant it could be stuck into the body with more force, causing more damage and hence harder to heal wounds.

    Regarding the survivability of puncture wounds, location is key, but I found reference to a study used to develop standards for stab resistant body armour which indicates that 20mm penetration to the torso has a 41% chance of puncturing a lung, 60+% chance of liver or femoral artery rupture and a 6% chance of heart penetration.

    I can dig up some more medical papers on stab wounds, but I suspect Mike_G's more practical experience is more worthwhile.

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

    The triangular bayonet wound thing is complex.

    A flat blade leaves a slit, which seals itself better and can bleed less, and is easier to stitch up after the battle. A triangular blade leaves a bigger hole, and is harder to stitch.

    But...

    A triangular blade doesn't cut cloth or flesh on its way in, which means it may not penetrate as deeply. Look at the tests of bodkin type points against gambeson or heavy wool and you see them not do very well. It can't really slash or draw or push cut, which is sometimes useful if you can't line up the point in the press of melee, and it won't widen a wound as it goes in or out.

    And the biggest argument for the sword bayonet, for me, is that it's more dangerous for your opponent to grab.

    I think the triangular bayonet was probably easier to produce, easier to care for and honestly, the difference won't matter all that much. If I'm in a bayonet fight, I REALLY don't care if the guy's wound bleeds or gets infected. I care about the next thirty seconds, not the next week. I'm gonna stab him, and if he falls over, I'm happy and if he doesn't I'm gong to twist the weapon in him and use the gun like a pitchfork to throw him to the ground so he can't keep fighting me.

    So, that's my perspective as a medic and as a guy who practiced bayonet training in the Marines.
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2017-08-27 at 09:16 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #244
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    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.
    Given that this is from an early 19th century text, this might come from a misunderstanding of how wounds heal. At that time germ theory was not accepted, and medical practice still resolved around the "humors." Infection was believed to be a part of the healing process; there's an account from the American Civil War of a Union Army doctor believing he had left something lodged in a wound when his patient did not have fever and pus flowing from the wound--the "bad humors" were not being allowed to drain properly. In the process of reopening the wound and poking around for a nonexistent obstruction, he did infect the wound which eventually resulted in the soldier having his leg amputated. I did a bit of reading around the quotes you referenced and didn't see anything explicitly stating that was the case, but it seems like a good explanation to me.

    Bayonet wounds were deadly for multiple reasons. The triangular head does make a wound that is more difficult to stitch closed than a flat blade. Also, soldiers were trained to stab for the belly with the bayonet, then twist and pull out. The triangular profile, combined with the offset of the bayonet itself, would cause a lot of internal damage to the intestines and the like. Surgeons in the era did not do much work in the body cavity; there were limited things they could do but nowhere near as much (it's hard to amputate someone's abdomen). The damage caused combined with the limited options surgeons had to repair that damage resulted in an extremely lethal weapon; albeit one that usually didn't kill immediately. Very few casualties were actually caused by the bayonet, however, due to the increasing effectiveness of infantry fire and the psychological impact of a bayonet charge--usually one side or the other would break and run before contact, rather than actually engaging the enemy. Bayonets won battles by breaking enemy morale, not killing enemy soldiers.
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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 think the triangular bayonet was probably easier to produce, easier to care for and honestly, the difference won't matter all that much.
    It also makes a better tent stake, and a decent candle holder. ;-)

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    It also makes a better tent stake, and a decent candle holder. ;-)
    Oh, yeah. It would be awesome at those.

    But, I really don't think the design was better for fighting, and I think all the wounding theories are just after the fact thinking. If it made them cheaper to produce less work to keep clean and sharp, that's a reason a military might switch.
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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
    Oh, yeah. It would be awesome at those.

    But, I really don't think the design was better for fighting, and I think all the wounding theories are just after the fact thinking. If it made them cheaper to produce less work to keep clean and sharp, that's a reason a military might switch.
    If it was purely a stabbing spike, perhaps the soldier who forgot he had it mounted in the stress of combat would be less likely to cut himself when he tried to load a shot?

    (Totally spitballing there...)
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    The ease of loading thing might well have something to do with it--the offset you see with bayonets from this period helps to keep the blade away from your hand when you're loading, and it'd be harder to get that with a blade. Loading a musket with bayonet is really no more difficult than without (though I've obviously never done it while being shot at).

    The "stab and twist" method wouldn't work as well with a sword bayonet, either... although now that I think of it, that technique might have come about after the offset, with the offset initially designed to allow for easier loading. I'm honestly not sure which came first, so to speak. I'm also not sure whether a triangular blade or a sword-type blade would be easier to manufacture... it'd probably depend a lot on how you're making them.
    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
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  9. - Top - End - #249
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    The ease of loading thing might well have something to do with it--the offset you see with bayonets from this period helps to keep the blade away from your hand when you're loading, and it'd be harder to get that with a blade. Loading a musket with bayonet is really no more difficult than without (though I've obviously never done it while being shot at).
    Yes, I do think there is some truth to this. With the introduction of breechloading firearms it becomes moot.

    EDIT -- Might also be a bit safer in close formations, two or three ranks deep. Although they sometimes did use sword bayonets during the muzzleloading period they were comparatively rare.
    Last edited by fusilier; 2017-08-28 at 01:39 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    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 Mike_G View Post
    If I'm in a bayonet fight, I REALLY don't care if the guy's wound bleeds or gets infected. I care about the next thirty seconds, not the next week.
    Ah, you don't - and by you, I mean people who had to use bayonets in general - but it's not you who is ordering the standard-issue equipment. That is done by the generals, and they certainly do care about the long term. If one of them starts to believe (for whatever reason) that triangular bayonet ultimately kills more people, that's that and your unit (if not entire army) will be issued triangular bayonets.

    You have a lot of this "generals who don't always know what they're talking about defining policy" thing going on, especially if there's a genuine disagreement between contemporary experts in the field. You can see it very clearly in cut vs thrust debate of British Empire, and bayonets were no different.

    What I think is important to remember here is that the people using the weapons and people ordering the manufacture of weapons aren't the same people any more.

    Edit: Pesky grammar.
    Last edited by Martin Greywolf; 2017-08-28 at 03:48 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    The ease of loading thing might well have something to do with it--the offset you see with bayonets from this period helps to keep the blade away from your hand when you're loading, and it'd be harder to get that with a blade. Loading a musket with bayonet is really no more difficult than without (though I've obviously never done it while being shot at).

    The "stab and twist" method wouldn't work as well with a sword bayonet, either... although now that I think of it, that technique might have come about after the offset, with the offset initially designed to allow for easier loading. I'm honestly not sure which came first, so to speak. I'm also not sure whether a triangular blade or a sword-type blade would be easier to manufacture... it'd probably depend a lot on how you're making them.
    Stab and twist works fine with a sword bayonet. That's what they still teach. You let air into the wound and break the vacuum that holds the weapon in the body. The same way you rock and twist anything that is stuck in anything to work it free. And a sword bayonet will cut as you wiggle it, widening the wound and cutting itself free.

    The triangular bayonet is easier to produce because the metal doesn't have to be as well forged, since the very thickness of the spike and shape means it will be strong even if the steel isn't all that carefully forged. It doesn't need to be as tough or resilient as a flat blade, and it doesn't have to hold a good edge.

    And I think it wasn't wounding capability that determined the choice, since not many men are actually wounded or killed with the bayonet. You hope that it will see the enemy off. If you actually get to bayonet combat, things are very, very ugly, and the ease of stitching the wound is just ... like the last thing anybody will care about.
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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
    Stab and twist works fine with a sword bayonet.
    It works fine with an actual sword, for that matter.

    While learning dao, I was taught that twisting the blade lets you tear it out of the other guy instead of just going back out the entry wound, which causes further injuries and transitions smoothly into a guard position. I don't think you could do that with a triangular cross-section, so it might actually end up less immediately lethal. As Mike G says, by the time you've made bayonet contact, immediate lethality is probably your main concern.
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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
    Stab and twist works fine with a sword bayonet. That's what they still teach. You let air into the wound and break the vacuum that holds the weapon in the body. The same way you rock and twist anything that is stuck in anything to work it free. And a sword bayonet will cut as you wiggle it, widening the wound and cutting itself free.
    Really? I would've thought that without a very strong mounting a blade wouldn't be able to twist as well. You still wouldn't get as much rotation of the blade, but I imagine the wounds would still be nasty.

    And I think it wasn't wounding capability that determined the choice, since not many men are actually wounded or killed with the bayonet. You hope that it will see the enemy off. If you actually get to bayonet combat, things are very, very ugly, and the ease of stitching the wound is just ... like the last thing anybody will care about.
    Of course. Bayonets caused a very small percentage of actual casualties (less than 1% in the American Civil War, probably similar in conflicts around the same time), not because they weren't used or were ineffective, but because one side or the other would usually lose their nerve before contact. Bayonets won battles by breaking enemy morale, not killing enemy soldiers.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    Really? I would've thought that without a very strong mounting a blade wouldn't be able to twist as well. You still wouldn't get as much rotation of the blade, but I imagine the wounds would still be nasty.
    I'm confused at why you think that. Sword bayonets have a ring in the quillon which fits over the muzzle and a slot in the pommel that a lug under the barrel clicks into. How is that weaker than a triangular bayonet's quarter turn fitting?

    And why won't you get as much rotation? You twist the weapon 90 degrees, you get 90 degrees of twist.

    You don't twist to make a worse wound, you twist to get the weapon out, or you shove the blade in to the hilt and torque the whole gun around to lever the guy onto the ground if he still looks like he wants to fight.

    There are many accounts of WWII Japanese soldiers with sword bayonets lifting a man off his feet after stabbing him.

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    Of course. Bayonets caused a very small percentage of actual casualties (less than 1% in the American Civil War, probably similar in conflicts around the same time), not because they weren't used or were ineffective, but because one side or the other would usually lose their nerve before contact. Bayonets won battles by breaking enemy morale, not killing enemy soldiers.
    Which is why I really don't think "nastier wounds" was a real reason for adopting the triangular bayonet, since you probably won't inflict any, and any bayonet on the end of a rifle held by an aggressive enemy is equally horrifying.

    I think ease of mass production, and possibly the ability to more safely load the weapon from the muzzle are more likely the reason most 18th-19th Century armies used the triangular blade.
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2017-08-28 at 12:19 PM.
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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 think ease of mass production, and possibly the ability to more safely load the weapon from the muzzle are more likely the reason most 18th-19th Century armies used the triangular blade.
    Oh! Because there's no edge pointing at the place where your hand's going to be? Which would also explain why triangular bayonets seem to become less universal once breech-loaders come around...

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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'm confused at why you think that. Sword bayonets have a ring in the quillon which fits over the muzzle and a slot in the pommel that a lug under the barrel clicks into. How is that weaker than a triangular bayonet's quarter turn fitting?
    It seems like it'd torque the bayonet off the lug. You've essentially got a lever multiplying the force on the back lug. Plus, it seems like the flat blade would have more resistance to being rotated. I've never actually stabbed someone with a sword bayonet (or a triangular one, for that matter) so this is just my impressions--I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just expressing surprise.

    With a socket and ring bayonet, you physically have to break the front sight off the barrel to move the bayonet, though I suppose the same is true of the sword bayonet's lug. A well-made mounting shouldn't break, either way.

    And why won't you get as much rotation? You twist the weapon 90 degrees, you get 90 degrees of twist.

    You don't twist to make a worse wound, you twist to get the weapon out, or you shove the blade in to the hilt and torque the whole gun around to lever the guy onto the ground if he still looks like he wants to fight.
    Again, the offset. Socket bayonets are set further from the muzzle of the weapon, so twisting through a given angle makes a wider arc. I can't speak for modern bayonet techniques, but with socket bayonets soldiers were trained to twist the weapon itself, which results in a lot of movement from the blade--which very well might help in recovering the bayonet, but I can't imagine it'd do much good for the insides of the person you stabbed. Speaking from manuals and the like, how they trained the soldiers rather than actual experience with using these weapons. In battle they might have done away with twisting the bayonet at all, or moved the rifle around the bayonet rather than the bayonet around the rifle in order to help retrieve it. But that's how it was done in the bayonet drills from the period.

    I've got a copy of McClellan's manual for the bayonet at home, which was the most commonly used manual on both sides in the American Civil War. It's been a while since I've looked through it, so I'm a bit fuzzy on the details, and I don't have access to it at the moment. If I can get it to look through I'll see if there's any additional information I can add.

    I'm not disagreeing with any of your points--I think they are all quite valid, and I don't know enough about the reasons triangular bayonets were adopted to say which came first. I definitely think your points were a large part of the reason they were ubiquitous, just pointing out that the wounds bayonets did cause were indeed quite bad.

    Fun fact: I've got a two-band Zouave rifle (reproduction, obviously) from the ACW that has a ring-and-lug sword bayonet rather than the socket bayonet, and with a longer blade. That's also at home, but it's probably about 24 inches or more, vs. an 18 inch blade for the socket bayonets on the three-band rifles. I'm not sure if it was just a question of style, or if there was a reason the sword bayonet could be made longer than a triangular one.
    Last edited by rs2excelsior; 2017-08-28 at 01:13 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by rs2excelsior View Post
    It seems like it'd torque the bayonet off the lug. You've essentially got a lever multiplying the force on the back lug. Plus, it seems like the flat blade would have more resistance to being rotated. I've never actually stabbed someone with a sword bayonet (or a triangular one, for that matter) so this is just my impressions--I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just expressing surprise.

    With a socket and ring bayonet, you physically have to break the front sight off the barrel to move the bayonet, though I suppose the same is true of the sword bayonet's lug. A well-made mounting shouldn't break, either way.



    Again, the offset. Socket bayonets are set further from the muzzle of the weapon, so twisting through a given angle makes a wider arc. I can't speak for modern bayonet techniques, but with socket bayonets soldiers were trained to twist the weapon itself, which results in a lot of movement from the blade--which very well might help in recovering the bayonet, but I can't imagine it'd do much good for the insides of the person you stabbed. Speaking from manuals and the like, how they trained the soldiers rather than actual experience with using these weapons. In battle they might have done away with twisting the bayonet at all, or moved the rifle around the bayonet rather than the bayonet around the rifle in order to help retrieve it. But that's how it was done in the bayonet drills from the period.

    I've got a copy of McClellan's manual for the bayonet at home, which was the most commonly used manual on both sides in the American Civil War. It's been a while since I've looked through it, so I'm a bit fuzzy on the details, and I don't have access to it at the moment. If I can get it to look through I'll see if there's any additional information I can add.

    I'm not disagreeing with any of your points--I think they are all quite valid, and I don't know enough about the reasons triangular bayonets were adopted to say which came first. I definitely think your points were a large part of the reason they were ubiquitous, just pointing out that the wounds bayonets did cause were indeed quite bad.

    Fun fact: I've got a two-band Zouave rifle (reproduction, obviously) from the ACW that has a ring-and-lug sword bayonet rather than the socket bayonet, and with a longer blade. That's also at home, but it's probably about 24 inches or more, vs. an 18 inch blade for the socket bayonets on the three-band rifles. I'm not sure if it was just a question of style, or if there was a reason the sword bayonet could be made longer than a triangular one.
    Sorry if I came across as aggressive. The triangular bayonet thing annoys me, because I really don't think worse wounds was the reason, but it's quoted as gospel, even though hardly any other military melee weapon wen the "spike with no edge" route, and the sword bayonet came back to prominence once bolt rifles became the norm. "Not slicing your ramrod hand" seems a lot more plausible, if less exciting.

    It's like my other pet peeve: the myth that target area in sport sabre fencing is from the waist up to protect the horses. Makes me tear my hair out. You don't want to take leg shots because you expose your weapon arm, neck, shoulder and head to give the guy a non fatal cut, and if he's on horseback, he's not even immobilized. But every amateur historian loves to use that to point out that horses were harder to train than cavalrymen, or some other stupid false "fact." Especially for a weapon from the Napoleonic era where infantry were told specifically to aim at horses when fighting cavalry. [/end rant]

    That sounds like a cool rifle and bayonet you have. I like the long sword bayonet, because you can slice with it, or do a push or draw cut if you get too close or partially parried.

    Full disclosure, I've never bayonetted anybody either, but I trained on dummy targets with the new sword (knife, I guess, considering the length) bayonet, and if you stick it in and pull straight out, it sticks a bit, but if you twist and slice, it comes out easily, and won't even hurt the M16, which is nowhere near as heavily built as a Brown Bess or 1860 Springfield

    The theory is you thrust with the rifle held sideways, then twist it 90 degrees so it's back to normal orientation and kinda pull/slice/draw cut out and down as you recover it, which let's the blade cut its way out. It's easier to show than tell, but I think you get the idea.
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2017-08-28 at 03:07 PM.
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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 Mycenaean would have preferred not to use such an obvious advantageous location that allows a fortress and port in one spot?
    A lot of classical Greek cities were built on Mycenaean foundations, so no, there can't have been a big difference between city location choice between the eras. Thebes, Sparta and Athens are all Mycenaean cities with Corinth being the most important classical city without Mycenaean routes, Mycenae is the odd one out in that it wasn't a power centre in the classical period but it was still an inhabited city and its fortifications were still in use until the mid 5th century BC.

    Pylos is important Mycenean archaelogical site mentioned in Homer's Illiad that was abandoned during the classical era and is a coastal port. From what we have of their financial records their coast guard appears to have been a major part of their national budget so pirates were probably a problem but on the other hand we only have the records from the year the palace was burned down so we don't know how normal that was. Profiting from trade while letting someone else pay to keep the sea routes safe probably gave inland states some advantage.

    Having more spread out forts equals more territory. Its basically that simple. Having a port for trading is worthless unless you can also produce goods to export. If the good producing area can ledger a military advantage over the port it will be the capital.

    The exception is the definitely post-Mycenean Greek colonies which are coastal because they're trade posts founded by sailors where the main priority was having a defensible site for a harbour. Colonies in the classical era didn't have to produce raw materials so they could afford to be just ports.
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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
    Sorry if I came across as aggressive. The triangular bayonet thing annoys me, because I really don't think worse wounds was the reason, but it's quoted as gospel, even though hardly any other military melee weapon wen the "spike with no edge" route, and the sword bayonet came back to prominence once bolt rifles became the norm. "Not slicing your ramrod hand" seems a lot more plausible, if less exciting.

    It's like my other pet peeve: the myth that target area in sport sabre fencing is from the waist up to protect the horses. Makes me tear my hair out. You don't want to take leg shots because you expose your weapon arm, neck, shoulder and head to give the guy a non fatal cut, and if he's on horseback, he's not even immobilized. But every amateur historian loves to use that to point out that horses were harder to train than cavalrymen, or some other stupid false "fact." Especially for a weapon from the Napoleonic era where infantry were told specifically to aim at horses when fighting cavalry. [/end rant]

    That sounds like a cool rifle and bayonet you have. I like the long sword bayonet, because you can slice with it, or do a push or draw cut if you get too close or partially parried.

    Full disclosure, I've never bayonetted anybody either, but I trained on dummy targets with the new sword (knife, I guess, considering the length) bayonet, and if you stick it in and pull straight out, it sticks a bit, but if you twist and slice, it comes out easily, and won't even hurt the M16, which is nowhere near as heavily built as a Brown Bess or 1860 Springfield

    The theory is you thrust with the rifle held sideways, then twist it 90 degrees so it's back to normal orientation and kinda pull/slice/draw cut out and down as you recover it, which let's the blade cut its way out. It's easier to show than tell, but I think you get the idea.
    No problem, I think we were both arguing just past each other

    If I recall correctly, it's kind of the opposite in ACW manuals. The guard position has the rifle turned slightly, about 45 degrees from "normal" orientation, with the lockplate (right side of the rifle) upward and the point around shoulder level. When you thrust you rotate back to it's normal orientation, and the process of extending the arms moves the point down to the abdomen. The twist then turns 90 degrees to the right, so lockplate down, then recover to guard. Again, it's been a while since I last went through the manuals, but if I recall correctly this is how it was done (or at least taught).

    It's a nice little rifle--I can't use it in reenactments due to safety issues (shorter musket, more likely to do some kind of damage to a person in the front rank), although two-banded muskets were far more common than most people realize. The longer bayonet brings it closer to a three-bander in terms of reach, although it still loses out a bit. It's a Zouave rifle, so made after French patterns--the French Zouaves were in vogue so to speak just before the war, which is why you get those gaudily-dressed units mostly from Louisiana and New York. I'm not sure how much of the reason for the sword bayonet was longer reach, and how much was just because the French were doing it.

    I've never heard that bit of... "information" regarding saber fencing. It's a bit ridiculous. If a horse is in fact more difficult to train than a cavalryman, wouldn't you want to kill or incapacitate enemy horses?
    I mean, I think some of the big two-handed swords could be used to cut the front legs off of a horse (or at least hack far enough in that the horse was out of the fight). Dying horses did a lot to spook the remaining horses and take the force out of a cavalry charge.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Re: saber targets, AFAIK, it's amateur historians misunderstanding the word "saber," to be less generic than it actually was. Dueling saber and military saber don't actually share much DNA, if any. A lot of swords only acquired unique names well into (or after) their period of use, and the fact that the two sabers didn't means a lot of people draw misbegotten conclusions about one from facts about the others.
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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
    hardly any other military melee weapon wen the "spike with no edge" route,
    Would estocs count?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Re: saber targets, AFAIK, it's amateur historians misunderstanding the word "saber," to be less generic than it actually was. Dueling saber and military saber don't actually share much DNA, if any. A lot of swords only acquired unique names well into (or after) their period of use, and the fact that the two sabers didn't means a lot of people draw misbegotten conclusions about one from facts about the others.
    So, "sabre," as in the sport they do in the Olympics or college, not HEMA or SCA or historical re-enactors or whatever, has a defined target area from the waist up to score points. Fencing does have its roots in sword practice, but it's move pretty far.

    I am fine with the legs being off target, because, since sabre wasn't intended for use with a shield and the blade is your defense as well as your offense, if you strike at the other guy's leg, you have to expose yourself really badly, and fencing's Right of Way rules or timing might protect you if you attacked the guy's shin and took a counter to the head, so better just not to give out points for creative suicide.

    BUT...

    Most fencing instructors (again, white uniform, blinky lights fencing) have told the story about how sabre was a cavalry weapon, and you aimed high so you could cut the rider and save the horse, so you could capture and use it.

    Which is total crap.

    It sounds kinda tournament-ish, but sabre (as it is taught) was a musket era military weapon, not a knightly tourney weapon, and I don't think the Scots Greys would have given a toss about hurting French horses.

    You wouldn't target the leg because it's not a real vital area, like the head or torso or sword arm, and if the guy's on a horse and you hit his leg, he may be bleeding but he's still mobile, and if you sword is down there, he can hack you high, where your brain and sword arm and important organs are.

    And it makes me nuts every time I hear it. Like how people keep talking about knights who needed to be hoisted onto horses and couldn't move if they got knocked off.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    Would estocs count?
    In theory, but I'd say that's apples to oranges, since they were designed to find gaps in armor, whereas bayonets were intended for use on unarmored men.
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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
    So, "sabre," as in the sport they do in the Olympics or college, not HEMA or SCA or historical re-enactors or whatever, has a defined target area from the waist up to score points. Fencing does have its roots in sword practice, but it's move pretty far.

    I am fine with the legs being off target, because, since sabre wasn't intended for use with a shield and the blade is your defense as well as your offense, if you strike at the other guy's leg, you have to expose yourself really badly, and fencing's Right of Way rules or timing might protect you if you attacked the guy's shin and took a counter to the head, so better just not to give out points for creative suicide.

    BUT...

    Most fencing instructors (again, white uniform, blinky lights fencing) have told the story about how sabre was a cavalry weapon, and you aimed high so you could cut the rider and save the horse, so you could capture and use it.

    Which is total crap.

    It sounds kinda tournament-ish, but sabre (as it is taught) was a musket era military weapon, not a knightly tourney weapon, and I don't think the Scots Greys would have given a toss about hurting French horses.

    You wouldn't target the leg because it's not a real vital area, like the head or torso or sword arm, and if the guy's on a horse and you hit his leg, he may be bleeding but he's still mobile, and if you sword is down there, he can hack you high, where your brain and sword arm and important organs are.

    And it makes me nuts every time I hear it. Like how people keep talking about knights who needed to be hoisted onto horses and couldn't move if they got knocked off.
    I'm aware - my maestro went on a similar rant where he indicated that military saber and dueling saber (the predecessor to collegiate) are not directly related. The latter, he said, emerged independently as a dueling weapon, and noted that it's a much lighter, more delicate weapon even in non-blindly incarnations.

    Moreover, he noted, in our system, the fore leg is a valid target for either of these weapons. At this point, several of the more senior students winced, and one noted that anyone learning dueling saber for the first time will come home with plenty of welts on their front leg until they learn to guard it.
    Last edited by gkathellar; 2017-08-28 at 05:16 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    I'm aware - my maestro went on a similar rant where he indicated that military saber and dueling saber (the predecessor to collegiate) are not directly related. Moreover, he noted, in our system, the fore leg is a valid target. At this point, several of the more senior students winced, and one noted that anyone learning dueling saber for the first time will come home with plenty of welts on their front leg until they learn to guard it.
    Just snap your leg back and whack him on the wrist until he smartens up and stops making that attack.

    Hit his head in a real fight, but in fencing, the mask takes the sting out of a head shot. A whack on the radial prominence will teach people to keep the weapon up where it belongs.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIV

    Well, when I find my way to saber, I'll keep that in mind. I'm still learning basics of French foil, myself, so the only thing I can say firsthand is that transitioning from Chinese swords to tiny wrist and elbow movements is agonizing.
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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
    The triangular bayonet wound thing is complex.

    A flat blade leaves a slit, which seals itself better and can bleed less, and is easier to stitch up after the battle. A triangular blade leaves a bigger hole, and is harder to stitch.

    But...

    A triangular blade doesn't cut cloth or flesh on its way in, which means it may not penetrate as deeply. Look at the tests of bodkin type points against gambeson or heavy wool and you see them not do very well. It can't really slash or draw or push cut, which is sometimes useful if you can't line up the point in the press of melee, and it won't widen a wound as it goes in or out.

    And the biggest argument for the sword bayonet, for me, is that it's more dangerous for your opponent to grab.

    I think the triangular bayonet was probably easier to produce, easier to care for and honestly, the difference won't matter all that much. If I'm in a bayonet fight, I REALLY don't care if the guy's wound bleeds or gets infected. I care about the next thirty seconds, not the next week. I'm gonna stab him, and if he falls over, I'm happy and if he doesn't I'm gong to twist the weapon in him and use the gun like a pitchfork to throw him to the ground so he can't keep fighting me.

    So, that's my perspective as a medic and as a guy who practiced bayonet training in the Marines.
    Referring back to pages 88-90 of the book, he does mention that lance and bayonet wounds typically involve some degree of drawing motion and contusion rather than being just a puncture. If the weapon is being bent or twisted inside the wound would the size of the entry wound make more of a difference in survivability?

    He also mentions that shallow puncture wounds, or wounds that puncture muscle tissue typically usually heal without many problems. Which seems odd, since I assume that would mean a wider blade which is more likely to nick an important artery or organ would be more deadly.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    He also mentions that shallow puncture wounds, or wounds that puncture muscle tissue typically usually heal without many problems. Which seems odd, since I assume that would mean a wider blade which is more likely to nick an important artery or organ would be more deadly.
    A wider blade would be more likely to hit something important if they got in deep enough (organs and arteries are generally fairly deep in the body). The issue is that a wider blade means more surface are and thus more resistance, so for the same force blow, a wide blade wouldn't as penetrate as deep as a narrow spike.

    To get a wide blade as deep as a narrow spike, you'd have to stab them harder. There's also the issue of a larger blade getting stuck on something like bone (eg trying to get a blade through the rib cage).

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

    Been thinking a bit on battleships, the dreadnaught era (and just before) to be precise, due to reading a book which is fairly thick on the technical data but not always so good as contextualising it. So I got some questions and musings.

    The definition of a battleship is kinda vague isn't it? The difference between the ships launched around the turn of the century and the WW2 German and Japanese behemoths is quite marked, under 20k tons vs 70k and more (esp for unplanned super battleships). To me it seems one might as well be comparing cruisers to early battleships.

    The insistence on placing secondary armament in casemates low to the waterline continued to baffle me. Because the same note always followed, couldn't be used in rough seas. Yet the next ships did exactly the same thing despite some lessons that one would thought had been learned.

    At various points the difficulty of aiming (over distance I assume) was mentioned with one ship with only 4 main gun(barrel)s was claimed to be neigh impossible to score hits with, 6 barrels minimum was the message I got. Is this to be understood so that the salvo is "small" enough and the targeting uncertain enough that it becomes impossible to "box in" the enemy? And what's the benefit in doing that? Because secondary and tertiary guns seemed to mess with this, and was one reason they moved to a main caliber and lighter support guns. But also, don't your pals' fire make it hard to tell, so they seem kinda screwed either way. This sort of jars with the pre-dreadnaughts too, where 4 main guns were considered plenty becked up by a plethora of secondary armaments.

    Incidentally, was reading before this a book on artillery ww1 to modern and the huge number of barrels repurposed from dreadnaught construction to heavy siege artillery on land was quite surprising, though logical. Also made me chuckle when weak and underpowered secondary or tertiary gunds on ships would have counted amongst the heaviest field and siege artillery on land. Though it leads me to the question why did ship guns need to be so massive. Later on in the dreadnaught race ofc you made a bigger gun than the Ger... I mean likely opponents and made your armour thick enough to withstand that (if you were american at least it seems). But where does it get started? Range? "kill power" ie weight of shells? Because as I understand it, fighting at range wasn't in the original plan e.g. where they put armour and the gunlayouts. It seems they were still thinking a lot like Trafalgar. That actually makes a tremendous sense for why the Russian fleet sailing to Tsutsuma straight got it's ass handed to it. (Not that they didn't have a lot of issues, just the idea of firing on British fishing ships because they may be Japanese torpedo boats, in the North Sea.) Because as I recall they had incredibly poor accuracy as they found out while practicing on the way. So they would have been expecting to fire almost flat trajectories over opensights mostly?

    Which brings me to the armouring which was terribly confusing to follow in the text (finally figured out horinzontal and vertical, but then some of the "armoured decks" started throwing me off, isn't that what you get if you have the previous?). But the thickest armour was placed in the sides and turrets (the only one makes sense to me) usually. So clearly they were not expecting to stand at distance and actually drop shells on target (a limited portee in many cases that was later retrofitted). But if range wasn't that important, why the big guns? At least, before the measuring contest started. Chicken/hen problem again it seems?
    In this day and age where you don't so much drop bombs as shoot missiles would thick sidearmour make sense again? If we disregard how unsuited a BB really is, because come on, everyone knows you're not a real global power if you don't own a battleship (someone needs to twitter Trump about this).

    Torpedo tubes on battleships?!?! Where'd they place those? Not at aft and fore surely? And, seriously? That's ironically about the one thing I almost felt was a definition of a weapon a battleship was not having. Yet the majority had them.

    The ultimate disappearance of the battleship made a lot of sense when looking at a photo of a WW2 refurbished USS Texas (IIRC) it was absolutely bristling with AA guns (it looked like a teenage boy's drawing of ship-with-helluva-lotsofguns) and you just know it was still probably quite vulnerable to planes anyway.

    At one point the author said something about static coastal fortifications always having an edge over moving ships (I may have to skim through and find it again). That seemed off. I was starting to tihnk it was a translation error. Because fortifications elsewhere tended to fail because they could not be moved and would be ground down by artillery.

    Random musing of the day. Be interesting to get some thoughts.

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