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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXV

    Quote Originally Posted by Incanur View Post
    English use of bows was an anomaly in 16th-century Europe, but archery persisted longer elsewhere in the world. In and around China, both cavalry and infantry archers appear to have been effective against opposing troops equipped with firearms, including European ones with European guns, at least into the 2nd half of the 17th century.

    By the 19th century, particularly the 2nd half of the 19th century, Chinese/Manchu bows were obviously inferior to decent European firearms, but it's unclear exactly when this shift occurred.
    A better example would probably be the battle of Sarhu in 1618, when Manchu forces armed with essentially no firearms whatsoever defeated a much larger Ming army including at least 10,000 korean musketeers. Even then though I think it more showcases the advantage Manchu horses provided moreso than their bows.

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXV

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    I more-or-less precisely defined what sort of magic I mean in my post. In the simplest form, it works out to the ability to counteract some percentage of gravity (less than 100%, of course).


    Right, that makes sense, I guess that's what I was after. From what you say, I imagine a wingsuit would increase your ability to travel long distances efficiently by employing thermals and gliding, but doesn't appreciably improve your in-combat performance, which is largely thrust-dependant.

    On the topic of caloric requirements, I believe top rowers and cyclists eat around 13 000 kJ/day even years after retiring, down from as high as 25 000 kJ/day during their professional careers, due to long-term changes in base metabolic rate and generally being active people. Given that a human can achieve those numbers (at least for men, but not large men (cyclists)), I'd expect that bird people can, with some evolutionary and cultural adjustment, achieve that 13 000 kJ/day average, being higher for active soldiers and lower for civilians and elderly. Supplying them would be annoying, but I think they can eat enough.
    The problem is 25,000kj is peanuts to a bird sized active flier, they'd use 270,000-360,000Kj's over a 6-8 hour flight time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haighus View Post
    From what I was reading with andean condors and Argentavis, an improved gliding efficiency means a lower active energy cost to maintain active flying, because less forward velocity is needed to prevent a loss in altitude. This would largely only help in long-distance powered flight I would suspect. The way you word it above makes a lot of sense though- from what I can gather passive flying is essentially deriving the thrust and energy from elsewhere (thermals or wind)? For manoeuvring, would levers operating rudders not have the potential to make some of the motions more mechanically efficient? This a stretch, but I am mainly considering plausibility here.
    Birds are allready amazingly efficient gliders when they've got updrafts, thermals, or for dynamic soarers like the albatross wind to exploit. The Albatross is particularly crazy, they can travel upto 16,000km in a single flight, (only 2 airliners in the worlds can claim to mach or exceed this), pending over a month on the wing whilst doing so and have been known to circumnavigate the globe in as little as 46 days. A birdman able to carry a small supply of suitable rations and with the advantage of intelligance to better exploit wind conditions that other birds don't because they never encounter them sufficiently often to learn how could probably do a round the world trip in less time and without ever landing. Long distance flight they can do, it's the active maneuvering that would give them hell.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXV

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    There are plenty of ancient and medieval cities, and an endless number of villages, and of course pretty much all population centers in the Americas in the 16th century.
    But it seems to me that since 1600, every location that had a major city on it, got pretty much immediately rebuild, even if the destruction of the buildings was more or less complete.
    Generally speaking that's probably true. But consider what are the options? You had a city in that place because it made sense for various reasons. These tend to remain so you would want the town to remain and you've got to do somethign with the populace, or what's left of it, usually the simplest path is to rebuild their own home. Even execessively ruined cities can have some semblance of basic infrastrucutre, like roads and underground infrastructures that can be valuable in rebuilding. In Europe at least resettling a major city just can't be done very easily because there were reasons the cities were there in the first place.

    Some exceptions exists. Fukushima and the town closest to Tjernobyl e.g. (at least for the forseable future), there's a French town that was massacred in WW2 by the Germans and was left empty as a monument sort of. Some cities that relied on a major antural resource that has been used up do go this way but social inertia means we fight to keep them around too often.

    An interesting example, sort of, is the Swedish town of Kiruna which is currently in the process of being relocated a couple of miles because the iron ore seam being mined is taking it towards the current city centre making buildings unstable and dangerous due to the work underground.

    Basically it's more common for ancient cities to be abandoned because one was largely dependant on argiculture. Today cities are more about the people really and as such rebuilding them for the economci and social factors why they existed made sense.
    Interestingly enough, it's also difficult to build a large city from scratch, most such modern examples haven't been the biggest successes.

    I think there are plenty of examples of cities that due to a catastrophe were severely reduced though. IIRC Magdeburg before the sack was a large, wealthy city, but it never really recovered from it's destruction in the 30YW.

    The "viking" town of Birka in what's now Swede was razed by the local king when he lost control of it and a new town of Sigtuna was built further north essentially moving the there.

    I'll have to see if I can think of more. Usually a more radical change in circumstances has to happen for a city to not be rebuilt, it's totally destroyed is funnily enough not quite enough.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Generally speaking that's probably true. But consider what are the options? You had a city in that place because it made sense for various reasons. These tend to remain so you would want the town to remain and you've got to do somethign with the populace, or what's left of it, usually the simplest path is to rebuild their own home. Even execessively ruined cities can have some semblance of basic infrastrucutre, like roads and underground infrastructures that can be valuable in rebuilding. In Europe at least resettling a major city just can't be done very easily because there were reasons the cities were there in the first place.

    Some exceptions exists. Fukushima and the town closest to Tjernobyl e.g. (at least for the forseable future), there's a French town that was massacred in WW2 by the Germans and was left empty as a monument sort of. Some cities that relied on a major antural resource that has been used up do go this way but social inertia means we fight to keep them around too often.

    An interesting example, sort of, is the Swedish town of Kiruna which is currently in the process of being relocated a couple of miles because the iron ore seam being mined is taking it towards the current city centre making buildings unstable and dangerous due to the work underground.

    Basically it's more common for ancient cities to be abandoned because one was largely dependant on argiculture. Today cities are more about the people really and as such rebuilding them for the economci and social factors why they existed made sense.
    Interestingly enough, it's also difficult to build a large city from scratch, most such modern examples haven't been the biggest successes.

    I think there are plenty of examples of cities that due to a catastrophe were severely reduced though. IIRC Magdeburg before the sack was a large, wealthy city, but it never really recovered from it's destruction in the 30YW.

    The "viking" town of Birka in what's now Swede was razed by the local king when he lost control of it and a new town of Sigtuna was built further north essentially moving the there.

    I'll have to see if I can think of more. Usually a more radical change in circumstances has to happen for a city to not be rebuilt, it's totally destroyed is funnily enough not quite enough.
    Local climate and environmental changes (including natural disasters) seem to be a common cause of this. There was that Egyptian city posted in the last thread, which just sunk into the ocean, and no one bothered rebuilding it because the Nile distributary shifted and left the port with no river access. There are also well known examples like Pompeii being buried in volcanic ash.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    I more-or-less precisely defined what sort of magic I mean in my post. In the simplest form, it works out to the ability to counteract some percentage of gravity (less than 100%, of course).
    Then it becomes progressively easier based on how much gravity they can ignore, and also ... honestly, the selective application of gravity gets pretty weird. How do two bodies operating under different gravities interact? How far does this ability to reduce gravity extend beyond the flying dude? Gravity has a crucial role in nearly all aspects of physiology, from the immune and cardiovascular systems to bone and muscle formation. I think for the sake of simplicity you may just want to say that these guys weigh far, far less than is plausible - i.e. they're made of SmalleculesTM, and that's all we have to say about that.

    The big limitation on a flyer's size is the ratio of (muscle weight + bone weight) : (pectoral muscle output + wing size advantage). To maximize the back end of the ratio, flying animals tend to have minimized lower limbs, shortened necks, light bones, and tremendously emphasized pectoral muscles. I can't stress this last one enough: the breast is to a flying bird as fuel is to a rocket, in that it has to lift its own weight and the weight of absolutely everything else. Even if their arms were wings, a human could not fly within normal weight constraints because our chest muscles cannot manage that kind of output. Once you start redesigning humanoid body plan for flight, the compromises you have to make pretty much mean you'll end up with a bat.

    As an alternative or supplement to weird weight, hat could make this all easier is if you take inspiration from wingsuits and hang-gliders by ruling out takeoff from a stationary position, and specifically say that your "flying" humanoids require strong headwinds to get airborne (which can be managed by leaping off of a high point). This is much more plausible, because it mainly requires changes to the arm structure in keeping with what raptors and long-term fliers like the albatross have (including the ability to lock their forelimbs in position) along with modest pectoral strength for the occasional flap. The big droopy legs a humanoid would be dragging around in the air could be kept out of the way by giving them their own "sails" or somehow incorporating them into those of the arms.
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXV

    Quote Originally Posted by rrgg View Post
    A better example would probably be the battle of Sarhu in 1618, when Manchu forces armed with essentially no firearms whatsoever defeated a much larger Ming army including at least 10,000 korean musketeers. Even then though I think it more showcases the advantage Manchu horses provided moreso than their bows.
    You just can't reload a musket on the back of a running horse. There was a period where you got light cavalry armed with half a dozen pistols each, but except for that, firearms as the main weapon for cavalry really only become viable with the primed cartridge.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXV

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    You just can't reload a musket on the back of a running horse. There was a period where you got light cavalry armed with half a dozen pistols each, but except for that, firearms as the main weapon for cavalry really only become viable with the primed cartridge.
    You can't use a musket, that 's why you had things called carbines, musketoons, baundelieurs.

    There aren't that much detail about their use available, they often could have been reloaded dismounted anyway, but they point was that the horse provided mobility to do so safely, very good for skirmishing.
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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXV

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    You just can't reload a musket on the back of a running horse. There was a period where you got light cavalry armed with half a dozen pistols each, but except for that, firearms as the main weapon for cavalry really only become viable with the primed cartridge.
    Oddly enough, it seems that shooting and reloading muzzle loaders from the back of a moving horse was far more common in Europe
    , india, North America, and even China was much more common than you might think. From a description in 1860:

    "In the use of their weapons such as they are these Tartars and Mongolians displayed considerable dexterity in the action of yesterday. The matchlock men were frequently seen, when retreating at full speed, to turn round, fire off their pieces, and reload as they galloped away. The bowmen also discharged their arrows when at full gallop."

    https://books.google.com/books?id=di...page&q&f=false

    in Europe this was made much easier in the second half of the 16th century with the introduction of wheelocks, snaphaunces, and prepared paper cartridges for horsemen. But what I think it mainly comes down to is that both the bow and the arquebus/carbine were extremely difficult weapons to learn how to use from the back of a moving horse, so which was "best" was typically whichever one you were most familiar with. In some cases like with Turkish cavalry during the 16th-17th century, many horsemen would carry both an arquebus and a bow into battle just in case.

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXV

    Quote Originally Posted by Haighus View Post
    Local climate and environmental changes (including natural disasters) seem to be a common cause of this. There was that Egyptian city posted in the last thread, which just sunk into the ocean, and no one bothered rebuilding it because the Nile distributary shifted and left the port with no river access. There are also well known examples like Pompeii being buried in volcanic ash.
    That's usually what does a cities in. The economical factors that make them possible change dramatically. Droughts/stuff killing arable land, harbours or rivers silting up/changing course, upheavals shifting trade patterns and so on. The closer to modern times we get the more we are able to mitigate such factors. And the more important the people and economic interests they represent are.
    Port Royal on Jamaica was lost in an earthquake, the administration moved to Spanish Town and changes in trading, the city was essentially gone, killed it the rest of the way.

    Today cities often justify their existence by their existence, it's where we collected all the stuff. Mainly they are competed out by other such entities. So today Detroit is a shadow of it's former self due to realignment of manufacturing and one could say economic self-interests in the econo-socio-political fabric.

    Must admit I find these things very interesting, ie how and why cities form, develop and decline. If anyone else has interesting examples of urban entities that are essentially abadoned as unrecoverable in more modern times I'd be curious to hear about it too.

    I'm positing the statement that a city is unlikely to remain "lost" unless factors which supported it's existence are also lost in conjunction with or close by the natural or man-made disaster.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    The closer to modern times we get the more we are able to mitigate such factors. And the more important the people and economic interests they represent are.
    It is true- New Orleans would likely have already have been largely abandoned by now if it was in the situation it is in now with pre-industrial technology. The Old River control structure is the only thing stopping the Mississippi river from diverting down the Atchafalaya river and entirely missing New Orleans. If this had not been built, New Orleans would be economically crippled by now, and would likely have been mostly abandoned if the event had happened in earlier times.

    I'm positing the statement that a city is unlikely to remain "lost" unless factors which supported it's existence are also lost in conjunction with or close by the natural or man-made disaster.
    I agree, which makes those few examples with no clear change in factors all the more fascinating. Angkor could be an example of this. It was destroyed in a sacking, but that usually isn't enough to wipe out a city.
    Last edited by Haighus; 2018-01-26 at 06:54 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Haighus View Post
    I agree, which makes those few examples with no clear change in factors all the more fascinating. Angkor could be an example of this. It was destroyed in a sacking, but that usually isn't enough to wipe out a city.
    Oh Angkor is simple really. It depended on vast amounts of aritificial irrigation, this was damaged and not kept in as good repair as needed, IIRC in part due to a relative weakening of the state which meant that the agricultural base was partially disrupted and a sacking would have been the deathblow.

    I'm not sure if there were additional environmental pressures at the time like disruped monsoons or anything but I remember watching a documentary that found many of the irrigation works had degraded.

    The city/temple complex apparently survived the sacking by the Chems though, in some sense, and even transferred from Hinduism to Buddhism, and apparently was never entirely abandoned, serving as a Buddhist place of worship in its later years. However the kings seem to have relocated their powerbase. Which I guess makes sense as you put your own stamp of glory on what you build.

    I can't find anything to refresh my memory on the "fall" of all of these temple-cities, there have been several built by the Khmers, jungles by and large aren't good places to build permanent cities in though.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Oh Angkor is simple really. It depended on vast amounts of aritificial irrigation, this was damaged and not kept in as good repair as needed, IIRC in part due to a relative weakening of the state which meant that the agricultural base was partially disrupted and a sacking would have been the deathblow.

    I'm not sure if there were additional environmental pressures at the time like disruped monsoons or anything but I remember watching a documentary that found many of the irrigation works had degraded.

    The city/temple complex apparently survived the sacking by the Chems though, in some sense, and even transferred from Hinduism to Buddhism, and apparently was never entirely abandoned, serving as a Buddhist place of worship in its later years. However the kings seem to have relocated their powerbase. Which I guess makes sense as you put your own stamp of glory on what you build.

    I can't find anything to refresh my memory on the "fall" of all of these temple-cities, there have been several built by the Khmers, jungles by and large aren't good places to build permanent cities in though.
    Ok, this makes a lot of sense. From what I've read, the city itself was abandoned, but the Angkor Wat temple complex in the centre was the only part which remained inhabited in the following centuries as a Buddhist place of worship (was built as a Hindu temple, but had already been converted prior to the collapse). It seems to have been abandoned at some time between the 17th and 19th centuries? Quite the remarkable piece of achitecture.

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

    So I was looking at some images of Angkor as a result of this discussion, and I noticed something interesting on one of the friezes.



    This shows a commander leading some troops. Unlike most of the Khmer carvings showing warriors, this clearly shows the soldiers to be wearing some kind of clothing, quite possibly armour. I think the design on the carving looks remarkably similar to a lot of depictions of Chinese lamellar armour, but the way it is hanging on the designs perhaps is more suggestive of cloth armour. Quite interesting.

    Edit: done some digging, apparently those are meant to be Chinese soldiers in a Khmer army. Doh!
    Last edited by Haighus; 2018-01-26 at 01:40 PM.

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

    At what point would sailing and logistical technology of Europe have been sufficient to make the full Spain-India westward journey in a world sans Americas? It's my understanding that Columbus thought he could do it because he mistakenly thought the Earth's circumference was smaller than it was, and all the people who had the right figure thought it couldn't be done. But at some point, sailing ships got faster, understanding of astronomy and navigation improved, and if we go far enough, we eventually get to steamships, so we would expect that a nonstop westward Europe-Asia trip would become doable. About when would that be?

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

    Not something i'm an expert on but changes in wind patterns from the lack of that landmass probably make any answer uncertain. Not to mention no Americas means no North Atlantic Current, which means europe is colder much more so for the northern regions but even spain would feel the effects. older europe means likely different societies tech pressures, e.t.c. All of which will result in changes in timeline on when different bits would become available both in absolute terms and relative to each other.

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

    Right, right. Sorry. I meant "if we pretend that the Americas don't exist for the purposes of anticipating the actions of explorers and rulers." I've been thinking about an alternate history scenario where Columbus fails to return from his voyage, leading Europe to conclude that he was, unsurprisingly, wrong about the circumference of the Earth and that sailing due westward to India is possible, but not with the effective range of their ships. Eventually, however, in such a scenario, people will likely develop ships that can make the journey, leading someone else to be surprised by the existence of the Americas.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    At what point would sailing and logistical technology of Europe have been sufficient to make the full Spain-India westward journey in a world sans Americas? It's my understanding that Columbus thought he could do it because he mistakenly thought the Earth's circumference was smaller than it was, and all the people who had the right figure thought it couldn't be done. But at some point, sailing ships got faster, understanding of astronomy and navigation improved, and if we go far enough, we eventually get to steamships, so we would expect that a nonstop westward Europe-Asia trip would become doable. About when would that be?
    Good question.

    The thing to keep in mind was their goal - they were trying to get to China and there were actually two ways to get there, both very difficult:

    1. Cross the Atlantic, go around the Americas somehow and then cross the Pacific or
    2. Sail down the West coast of Africa, round the Cape of Good Hope, sail back up the East Coast of Africa, and cross the Indian Ocean and sail around India to China.



    Those of us in the US tend to focus heavily on Columbus and the discovery of the Americas, but we have to remember that the Portuguese (and others) were already well underway in trying to get to India this way throughout the 15th Century. They already had a map showing the cape and that you could sail around South Africa by at least 1450.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fra_Mauro_map

    This is the map shown next to a NASA photograph, where you can see it was quite accurate.



    The Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias reached the Cape in 1488, and Vasco Da Gama reached India for the first time in 1497.

    So point #2 they had another way to get to the Far East.

    Simultaneously, also through the 15th Century, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Flemish and Dutch explorers found many of the islands in the Atlantic. Madeira was discovered in 1419 and was already an important sugar and wine exporter by the 1430's, the Azores were discovered by a Flemish ship in 1427 already colonized in the 1430's. The Canaries, Capo Verde, Principes and most of the other East to mid-Atlantic Islands chains had all been discovered by European explorers before Columbus found America, and they were all important dropping-off points.

    So in your hypothetical world with no American continents, would you have Islands? If so I suspect they would have made their way across the oceans by the end of the 16th Century regardless. The African route was available but it was fairly perilous and passed by Muslim zones which may or may not always play ball.

    G

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

    This one's a little strange... how usable would solid corundum (the stuff rubies and sapphires are made from) be for armor? Ignoring the logistics of how solid corundum plate would exist in the first place, due to the high melting point, would it be any good for actually preventing someone from being impaled/cut apart/beaten to death? If so, how good?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironsmith View Post
    This one's a little strange... how usable would solid corundum (the stuff rubies and sapphires are made from) be for armor? Ignoring the logistics of how solid corundum plate would exist in the first place, due to the high melting point, would it be any good for actually preventing someone from being impaled/cut apart/beaten to death? If so, how good?

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    Armor isn't brittle for a reason; corundum would be terrible.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Armor isn't brittle for a reason; corundum would be terrible.
    Somehow, I don't think that's due consideration to the question I asked. Corundum's only brittle in the sense that it breaks apart instead of bending, but actually breaking it isn't easy to do. Unlike diamond, and a lot of other gemstones for that matter, corundum has no cleavage planes (though it does exhibit parting), meaning there aren't a lot of low-resistance ways of cutting through it. Plus, it has a very high resistance to deformation (though also in fairness, if it deforms and you're counting on it to stop a projectile, you're probably screwed) and a compressive strength about twice that of your average sample of stainless steel.

    So basically, what I'm saying is I was kind of hoping for a better answer than "no, it's brittle".
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXV

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironsmith View Post
    Somehow, I don't think that's due consideration to the question I asked. Corundum's only brittle in the sense that it breaks apart instead of bending, but actually breaking it isn't easy to do. Unlike diamond, and a lot of other gemstones for that matter, corundum has no cleavage planes (though it does exhibit parting), meaning there aren't a lot of low-resistance ways of cutting through it. Plus, it has a very high resistance to deformation (though also in fairness, if it deforms and you're counting on it to stop a projectile, you're probably screwed) and a compressive strength about twice that of your average sample of stainless steel.

    So basically, what I'm saying is I was kind of hoping for a better answer than "no, it's brittle".
    "no it's brittle"

    I think in general, people fail to grasp how important flexibility is for both armor and weapons. More so for things like swords, obviously but for armor too. Bronze, copper, iron, and brass will all deform substantially before fracturing. Steel, if properly heat treated, will bend back so it's even better. That is what allows it to be so thin.

    I am not an engineer or a materials scientist, but I think you'll find that brittle material makes poor armor - even if it's very hard. Your best bet would probably be to make lamellar but even then, I think you'd have problems. You have to compete with metals that can protect when only 1 -2mm thick. Of course, it is also possible to temper glass and make it much stronger. My guess is that you'd end up with tiny cracks pretty quickly which would only get worse over time.

    Incidentally, by the Late Medieval period I believe they could have made at least lamellar out of beryl though I don't know how expensive it would be. Beryl was used to make lenses for eyeglasses fairly routinely so presumably you could make scales or lames out of it, though not sure about something the size of a breast plate. Beryl eyeglasses were common enough that burghers and even more well off peasants could afford them by the 15th Century.

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    Another issue is workability. You can't easily join plates of corundum together with bolts or welds, and you can't easily fasten straps to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galloglaich View Post
    "no it's brittle"

    I think in general, people fail to grasp how important flexibility is for both armor and weapons. More so for things like swords, obviously but for armor too. Bronze, copper, iron, and brass will all deform substantially before fracturing. Steel, if properly heat treated, will bend back so it's even better. That is what allows it to be so thin.

    I am not an engineer or a materials scientist, but I think you'll find that brittle material makes poor armor - even if it's very hard. Your best bet would probably be to make lamellar but even then, I think you'd have problems. You have to compete with metals that can protect when only 1 -2mm thick. Of course, it is also possible to temper glass and make it much stronger. My guess is that you'd end up with tiny cracks pretty quickly which would only get worse over time.

    Incidentally, by the Late Medieval period I believe they could have made at least lamellar out of beryl though I don't know how expensive it would be. Beryl was used to make lenses for eyeglasses fairly routinely so presumably you could make scales or lames out of it, though not sure about something the size of a breast plate. Beryl eyeglasses were common enough that burghers and even more well off peasants could afford them by the 15th Century.
    (First off, much better; my frustration was more with the lack of effort in response than the answer itself. Thanks for taking the time out to write this.)

    You're not the first person to suggest lamellar armor, and I'm starting to think that while it might not be as flashy as a full plate set of corundum would be, it'd probably be more practical (I imagine replacing cracked lamellar plate would be much easier than, say, repairing a shattered chestplate). Somehow working more elasticity into the design might be beneficial, as well.

    Incidentally also, most samples of corundum that we have in ruby or sapphire form are only a few centimeters thick to begin with, so that kind of scale isn't exactly news.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Another issue is workability. You can't easily join plates of corundum together with bolts or welds, and you can't easily fasten straps to it.
    Presumably, that's the kind of thing that'd be worked out in making corundum crystals that are big enough to be considered for deflecting sword strokes, crossbow bolts and whatnot. In a more fantastic setting, it wouldn't be inconceivable that the crystals themselves would be grown onto the belts themselves, or somehow set up so they'd have holes for bolts and rivets in them without disturbing/potentially breaking the material trying to put them there.
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    The material could also be used in a composite manner in the same way as ceramic plates in modern armour. If it was possible to create, for example, two thin plates of tempered steel with a thin layer of corundum sandwiched between, over typical padding, this would give many of the benefits of just corundum or just steel. To question is whether this would be more effective than the same thickness of just tempered steel. Also agree that lamellar armour would be the best way to field it, as such damaged lames would need to be replaced fairly frequently.
    Last edited by Haighus; 2018-01-28 at 01:43 PM.

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    It took a lot of digging to find any values i could compare with data i found for Corundum but the TLDR is it's MUCH easier to fracture it than even aluminium alloy which generally hold up less well than steel, (most tests are done using fixed sample sizes, and shapes, Aluminum is better than steel by weight but not normally in most respects by volume). I'm having real issues with the steel properties as they typically seem to measure toughness using a different test to that used with Corundum so i can't directly compare those two, the aluminum ones where an accidental find. But overall i'd say your looking at a very significant increase in ease of causing it to break into multiple pieces, the ratio for aluminium is over 4 times harder to shatter. Steel as noted is likely higher still.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haighus View Post
    The material could also be used in a composite manner in the same way as ceramic plates in modern armour. If it was possible to create, for example, two thin plates of tempered steel with a thin layer of corundum sandwiched between, over typical padding, this would give many of the benefits of just corundum or just steel. To question is whether this would be more effective than the same thickness of just tempered steel. Also agree that lamellar armour would be the best way to field it, as such damaged lames would need to be replaced fairly frequently.
    I did run across some indications it had at least been investigated for use in modern armour systems and we can actually manufacture synthetic stuff at larger sizes. Thee ws a lot of stuff about using it in vapor deposition based composite coatings for unclear applications.

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    The reason that arms and armour used steel instead of some exotic wonder material is that steel basically is the wonder material. I think if we had to make swords, crossbows, gothic plate, halberds etc. now, we could do better than the wood, leather and cloth components but we'd probably end up keeping most of the steel.

    EDIT

    Armour we would presumably use layered composites. I don't know if we'd keep the steel shell or not. Swords would likely remain all steel. Beaked weapons might employ spike made of tungsten or some other hard, high density material as a penetrator. Modern crossbows still use steel I believe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    It took a lot of digging to find any values i could compare with data i found for Corundum but the TLDR is it's MUCH easier to fracture it than even aluminium alloy which generally hold up less well than steel, (most tests are done using fixed sample sizes, and shapes, Aluminum is better than steel by weight but not normally in most respects by volume). I'm having real issues with the steel properties as they typically seem to measure toughness using a different test to that used with Corundum so i can't directly compare those two, the aluminum ones where an accidental find. But overall i'd say your looking at a very significant increase in ease of causing it to break into multiple pieces, the ratio for aluminium is over 4 times harder to shatter. Steel as noted is likely higher still.
    Don't suppose you have a source? I could really use something like that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    The reason that arms and armour used steel instead of some exotic wonder material is that steel basically is the wonder material. I think if we had to make swords, crossbows, gothic plate, halberds etc. now, we could do better than the wood, leather and cloth components but we'd probably end up keeping most of the steel.

    EDIT

    Armour we would presumably use layered composites. I don't know if we'd keep the steel shell or not. Swords would likely remain all steel. Beaked weapons might employ spike made of tungsten or some other hard, high density material as a penetrator. Modern crossbows still use steel I believe.
    We've actually picked up a few more wonder materials since then (ironically, including alumina, chemically the same stuff as corundum but structurally less specific), but yeah, I see your point. It also probably doesn't help that, for any given material we'd want to shape, we'd have to find a way to break it first...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    It took a lot of digging to find any values i could compare with data i found for Corundum but the TLDR is it's MUCH easier to fracture it than even aluminium alloy which generally hold up less well than steel, (most tests are done using fixed sample sizes, and shapes, Aluminum is better than steel by weight but not normally in most respects by volume). I'm having real issues with the steel properties as they typically seem to measure toughness using a different test to that used with Corundum so i can't directly compare those two, the aluminum ones where an accidental find. But overall i'd say your looking at a very significant increase in ease of causing it to break into multiple pieces, the ratio for aluminium is over 4 times harder to shatter. Steel as noted is likely higher still.
    Interesting, thanks. Presumably ceramic won out for composites, at least with current tech. I suspect the thing about steel could be due to steel having so many potential properties depending on the particular alloy in question, from hard and brittle to soft and malleable to soft and springy to hard and springy. I think this is why steel is really unusual and great for swords?
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    The reason that arms and armour used steel instead of some exotic wonder material is that steel basically is the wonder material. I think if we had to make swords, crossbows, gothic plate, halberds etc. now, we could do better than the wood, leather and cloth components but we'd probably end up keeping most of the steel.

    EDIT

    Armour we would presumably use layered composites. I don't know if we'd keep the steel shell or not. Swords would likely remain all steel. Beaked weapons might employ spike made of tungsten or some other hard, high density material as a penetrator. Modern crossbows still use steel I believe.
    I reckon the tungsten would be best in the core, like how bronze was used in the core of mace heads. Steel would still be better for the flanges/points, as it would be more durable, but you still have the density of the tungsten in the impact.

    I reckon the only (currently known) material that has the potential to supplant steel in many of these roles is carbon materials specifically crafted with the optimum nano-structure? They may make better armour once people can produce them easily in the ways they want to, with accurate nano structures.

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

    You could try covering medieval armor with ERA panels so that when it gets hit by an arrow it explodes and sends the arrow flying back at whoever shot it.

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