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

    You may be really fast here. That's a lot of interesting things and I want to add quite a few things.

    So...

    Snowblizz said a few things about American Civil War and communication (I was almost certain somebody would talk about that.) I agree with all that, but I want to emphasis how much war in XIX century was a changing landscape. The Civil War is actually quite an interesting laboratory as European tactical conceptions inherited from the Napoleonian Wars would clash with the dangerous wonders of technology.
    Trains and telegraph are only a part of the picture. Basically, the second half of the XIX century till the end of the first world war is a time of increasing change in the technological landscape. The French navy would install the first wireless communication system on her ship in 1899 for example.

    Also I think the military music had a little tactical role, a bit like the flag, and their use in battle would decrease and disappear around the same time.

    The music was important to give a rhythm of march, to give short orders and also, like a flag, as a kind or rallying point. Of course, the range is really short and the fonctions limited.
    But all those things would be relatively important at company and platoon level for forces who would march in ranks and files.


    About wargames, you may be referring to the younger Reiswitz, one of the first inventor of wargames independent of chess. (After the experimentations of Hellwig and Venturini around 1780-1810 and then his own father who made that:
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    Reiswitz son was addressing the problem of uncertainty of war and wanted to weave it in its game. As such, every player would give written orders to the umpire, whose decisions would be final and who was tasked with moving the units, deciding the advantages and disadvantages and so on. The only units on the table would be those both players were aware of.

    The guy was also responsible for the introduction of dices and the use of probability in wargames, also with the intent of simulating the uncertainty of war.



    To Brother Oni, about Chinese charioteers. As you fancy and see fit to do. I only read a fews things on Chinese armies and society, mostly a few ospreys books, some classical stuff and a few articles.
    So maybe you could start with a kind of beginning, when did the chariot appear, in which social context, how would charioteers be considered? How the administration was structured around chariots? Who was the administrator in charge?
    The subject is huge and I don't know how I would attack it, so really, as you see fit would be the best.

    Thanks also for the caveat on the Surcouf example. Just a quick note: as much as getting lost is an issue, the maze that is a modern battleship may also help a small group of players, or a team of special forces. I'm not sure how ancient peoples would react in the context of the shaft of the propeller but players may be creative.


    Vinyadan, I saw that and it's amazing!



    SleepyShadow, about spots, I think you are a bit soft on the lights part. They would have of course only a few main spots, but quite a lot of secondary ones, relatively powerful. For example, if you have to lift a lifeboat at night the main spot was not practical. Also the mounted self defense weapons would often incorporate one.

    Also don't forget the battleships would still have masts were the main spot could be positioned.

    And then I wonder when were illuminating obus used by battleships?

    Finally reaching a battleship at night by swimming is not totally outside the realm of possibilities.
    Last edited by Epimethee; 2018-10-24 at 05:52 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Epimethee View Post
    About wargames, you may be referring to the younger Reiswitz, one of the first inventor of wargames independent of chess. (After the experimentations of Hellwig and Venturini around 1780-1810 and then his own father who made that:
    Spoiler
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    No it was a battle report in Wargames Illustrated couple years back. The thing Brother Oni talks about was slightly different I've seen it and some similar programmes on tv. Mostly those programmes ar emore informative than exploratory/speculative. So they used Total War to get good animations.

    I've also read an funny one where generals only got to see the field through webcams at the level of the miniature soldiers. So things like moving along a forest road with troops became as tense as it would have bene in real life (well again, sort of) as you could only see a tunnel forwards with a bit of light at the end when far away.


    Both of these are attempts to reach the holy grail of wargmaing. To wargame in conditions that are approximate to the field of batttle to avoid the "god perspective". Generally friction in command is addressed by rolling dice to add some uncetainty but it's very difficult to impose a fog of war. E.g. people knowing which battel they ar epalying sort of invalidates the actual circumstances.

    It's probably tangentially connected to the discussion in this thread. Since similar real world constraints apply eg to weapons discussions. Training for weapons have the issues too and is why olympic fencing IMO is so removed from actual fencing.

    One of my pet peeves of wargaming is when you create a rules set and play it out, success is determined by whther you achieved hisotrical results. Results that would not result if the actual participants had the knowledge the reenactors had.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Jack View Post
    I think spells like fireball really question ironclads and big ships.

    Like, the aim of those spells are perfect, you could fire them into a gun barrel and watch the whole thing blow up.
    Unlikely IMO. What are cannons? Strong metal tubes designed to contain an explosion so you project the projectile out. Odds are the only thing you do is set of the charge and launch the projectile.
    And that's a good old fashioned one. When moving into more modern context mere fire won't necessarily set the charges off. Some explosives only react to very specific shocks to get them started.

    Depending on target, I would posit targeting smokestacks and get the fireball down into the boiler room would be much worse for the ship. Ideally ofc setting off the magazine but only if your ship is crewed by british ww1 sailors. (One reason for the great losses at Jutland and Dogger bank in WW1 was that the british apparently kept charges stacked on deck to fire faster and had not closed the blast doors. And boy did that blow up in their faces.
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2018-10-24 at 06:55 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jack View Post
    I still think the Rags'd be mad to not recruit others to do their work for them, or at least to build or summon a few things that could work for them. Animated armour but with a machinegun.... sounds like a perfect warrior.
    They've got plenty of local recruits to fill in as ground troops, but it'd be unlikely they'd trust goblins and such to handle important machinery like battlecruisers and biplanes. Maybe some local lizardfolk aboard the ship to act as marines. Animated armour though, that's a great idea. I'm sure my players won't appreciate it

    Quote Originally Posted by Epimethee
    SleepyShadow, about spots, I think you are a bit soft on the lights part. They would have of course only a few main spots, but quite a lot of secondary ones, relatively powerful. For example, if you have to lift a lifeboat at night the main spot was not practical. Also the mounted self defense weapons would often incorporate one.

    Also don't forget the battleships would still have masts were the main spot could be positioned.

    And then I wonder when were illuminating obus used by battleships?

    Finally reaching a battleship at night by swimming is not totally outside the realm of possibilities.
    Good point. I hadn't considered weapon mounted lights. Thank you for pointing it out. The Ragesians always seem to have more advantages than I think they do lol

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

    I was wondering that, since it goes around corners, it'd basically get all the ammo. secondary weapons like belt fed AA guns would make a mess. Lightning may also also a choice, as it apparently ignites objects.

    Other ways I'd be interesed in trying to take down a WWI ship with DnD magic.
    Enlisting a sea monster
    Send in spooky skeletons through the waters and up the ship.
    Fog and illusion magic to get ships in real close for boarding. Night raids'n underhanded spec ops style stuff is great, so players could do that stuff. Fly onto the ship in stealth, murder everyone.


    What did you end up going with for the invasion plan?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jack View Post
    I was wondering that, since it goes around corners, it'd basically get all the ammo. secondary weapons like belt fed AA guns would make a mess. Lightning may also also a choice, as it apparently ignites objects.

    Other ways I'd be interesed in trying to take down a WWI ship with DnD magic.
    Enlisting a sea monster
    Send in spooky skeletons through the waters and up the ship.
    Fog and illusion magic to get ships in real close for boarding. Night raids'n underhanded spec ops style stuff is great, so players could do that stuff. Fly onto the ship in stealth, murder everyone.


    What did you end up going with for the invasion plan?
    If magic is allowed, a single 3.5e Wraith would do short work of a crew without magical weapons. It would turn its victims into Wraiths, who would in turn do the same to others...

    A 5e Wraith wouldn't be as unstoppable, but if it fights cleverly it could infiltrate the ship and use hit-and-runs tactics to turn the crew into Specters one by one and send them against the rest of the crewmen...

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVII

    You know, I think the history of wargame can teach us a few things about the history of war. But we have first to agree to dodge an age old conversation about the effectiveness of training versus actual experience of war: wargames as used today in the military are not really intended to train the combat skills of a unit. They are more about the intangible things, like the reaction of the chain of command, the tactical and strategical strategical dispositions of the troops, on the terrain and in relation to the doctrine, intendancy as in use of ressources, and so on.

    Iím of the opinion that, in the course of war, such skills are more important than the actual fighting skills, be it the ę*hardness*Ľ of the fighter or the superiority of material. The battle, as in the tactical victory, may only be decisive if it is followed, I mean if the operational aim is clear and it pursues a coherent and achievable strategical goal and if the troops are actually able to perform it.

    Thatís especially relevant for contemporary warfare so I donít want to give historical example as I think everybody would have some self explanatory illustration of my last point in mind.

    So to go back to history, the idea of modern wargame is in my opinion connected with the growing importance of science as an actual tool of war, or maybe with strategy as a science.

    I make a distinction between the first wargames, the Prussian kriegspiele, and the old games more or less inspired by chess. They were actually some games that tried to change chess in early modern time, adding artillery or other pieces with different movement on the board, or changing the board, or other esoteric rules. They were all more or less theoretical abstraction about was, taken mostly from a perspective of high strategical concepts and the fight between troops would take place according to a convention, mostly the active piece would take an opponent.

    But the first kriegspiele departed from this by implementing first an actual terrain, and then some granularity with the use of statistics and probability. They were aimed at simulation and this mere idea is important because it is a key to understand mentalities and particularly how the perception of war would change in the XIX century. I think it is relevant to a few things we are discussing here.

    For my argument, I should develop the importance for warfare of the sciences I just talked about. Cartography is the most evident, as it would give a huge advantage in the preparation of an offensive or a campaign. It is far easier to give orders on a conventional map than related to some landmarks.
    With the help of some other technologies, better communications, quicker transports, longer range of fire, the map is more and more the most relevant battlefield, expanding the frontline and leading to the development of the operational art in the XX century. Even more so with the invention of aviation, then radars and aircraft carriers, think for example of the literal siege of Rabaul by the Air Force in WWII.

    But statistics and probability are of huge importance too (and their history is quite fascinating but outside the scope of this thread). Prior to Resiwitz, I donít remember the name of the guys but some studies of weapons and troops were already made to assess their effectiveness statistically. (Reiswitz the Younger published his book in 1824 if my memory desserve me correctly). Even the hasard and thus the uncertainty of war may theoretically be accounted using probabilities.

    It gives a kind of objectivity to the assessment of a weapon (a tradition proudly carried today) and in my opinion it is one of the mental turning point in the industrialization of war. Of course, it is what make possible the games we all played, from wargames to roleplaying game, offering a basis to relate every unit then character on play. But the influence of statistics in the concept of war and thus in its conduct is also significant. By this point the art of operations is growing stronger, his importance more and more conceptualized.

    Thatís again a huge subject, tying with the quicks changes of XIX century and one of the objects that fascinate me in this essential century.
    Also I think, from the point of view of the gamer, how quickly some question, granularity versus playability, simulation versus access, and a lot of the abstractions that are still relevant in the discussion around wargame and RPG are relevant from the beginning.



    For something completely different, I went to a conference this week by Guillaume Reich, an archeologist who worked on the weapons of La TŤne, studying the actual weapons found on the site and the traces that were left on them. Thatís a huge thesis, an impressive achievement that should be published soon. So maybe in one or two years.
    He use traceology, forensic studies and reenactment. It is really methodical, he used for example samples of swords he made himself and a guillotine to multiply the blows on the blade with different forces and then studied the traces on both the replica and the original sword.

    The work is huge and may constitute a reference for Celtic combat. The presentation was sadly a bit short to really dig on the specifics. He had obviously things to say on the equipment, the tactical formations, the use of weapons.
    For example, he was able to speculate why the scabbard was on the right. The fighter would take the sword from the right hand with the palm of the hand facing outside. Then he would draw the weapon and the scabbard would help the movement, permitting to land an actual blow.
    This way of drawing a sword would also not be impeded by the shield.
    This is one of the hint who point to the development of phalanges of Celtic warriors, albeit in less close order than the greeks or romans ones. 
 The need for place could also explain the movement of Celtic warriors, for example in the battle of Cannae were they would retreat to form the famous crescent were the romans forces would advance to be exterminated.

    But one of the most startling conclusion is that almost every trace on the sword found in La TŤne was coherent with destructions in combat. The bended sword could be obtained easily: three blow from a horse could result in a sword bended first to the right, then linear then bended to the left. 
 A few blows could destroy a shield. 
 A sword inserted in a shield could become twisted like a corkscrew.
    Even the scabbard, no bigger than 5mm of iron, could bend after the fighter tripped, encircling is leg completely in some cases.

    I think it is quite enlightening on the solidity of the Celtics weapons. But the work is really impressive and I wait for the book as the guy has clearly a lot to say.

    Also, he spoke of a collective problem, but the actual interpretation of the site of La Then is a kind of ritual trophy of weapons. The weapons would probably (barring some few exceptions) destroyed by actual battles and were not deposed in the water but probably exposed on two bridges (the fact that the datation of the bridges is far for clear and seem to point to two different time of construction just add to the problem). They seem to have fallen in the lake with the natural destruction of the place.

    Still he is really careful in his conclusions and is work is really methodical so I will try to update you as soon as something is available.
    Last edited by Epimethee; 2018-10-25 at 09:56 AM.

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

    What is a reasonable time frame to perform basic trauma care for a injuries that are, for lack of a better term, not superficial but not catastrophic? I know this is a broad question but I'm having a hard time narrowing it. I'm trying to get a feel for treatment that goes beyond emergency first aid but that isn't hours of touch-and-go surgery, for instance stitching and bandaging a non-lethal wound or setting a bone.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mendicant View Post
    What is a reasonable time frame to perform basic trauma care for a injuries that are, for lack of a better term, not superficial but not catastrophic? I know this is a broad question but I'm having a hard time narrowing it. I'm trying to get a feel for treatment that goes beyond emergency first aid but that isn't hours of touch-and-go surgery, for instance stitching and bandaging a non-lethal wound or setting a bone.
    I'm a paramedic, and I worked as a tech in an orthopedic office and and ER.

    Packing a wound to stop bleeding or applying a tourniquet takes less than a minute. Clamping an artery takes under a minute. Any "stop the bleeding, this guy is dying" stuff has to take less than a minute.

    For more involved trauma care, stitches would take a few minutes. Setting a bone (without figuring time for x-rays before and after, to check the alignment) takes a few minutes, but plaster casts take around half an hour to dry. If you are setting the bone and just using a rigid splint, like five minutes, but they won't be able to do much. Modern fiberglass cast/splint material hardens in a few minutes.

    I assume you're talking about actual time to do the procedure. In a hospital, where you need the doctor to assess the injury and give orders, then you wait for x-ray, then the doctor looks at the x-ray, then he orders the tech to splint or cast the injury, then he rechecks and maybe orders a follow up x-ray, you're looking at hours.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Mendicant View Post
    What is a reasonable time frame to perform basic trauma care for a injuries that are, for lack of a better term, not superficial but not catastrophic? I know this is a broad question but I'm having a hard time narrowing it. I'm trying to get a feel for treatment that goes beyond emergency first aid but that isn't hours of touch-and-go surgery, for instance stitching and bandaging a non-lethal wound or setting a bone.
    For setting a bone, you have Cato Maior (died 149 BC). However, I think he actually described the bone setting as a healing ritual, complete with invocations.

    Edit: I can't believe how hard I misunderstood your question XD
    Last edited by Vinyadan; 2018-10-27 at 09:49 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post

    Packing a wound to stop bleeding or applying a tourniquet takes less than a
    For more involved trauma care, stitches would take a few minutes. Setting a bone (without figuring time for x-rays before and after, to check the alignment) takes a few minutes, but plaster casts take around half an hour to dry. If you are setting the bone and just using a rigid splint, like five minutes, but they won't be able to do much. Modern fiberglass cast/splint material hardens in a few minutes.
    Yeah this is what I'm looking for, thanks. I've got an idea of time frames for immediate interventions like tourniquets from my time in the military; I wanted a better idea of what a "moderate" injury's more end-stage treatment looks like, specifically the procedure itself. (Modern hospital time frames are useful too, but this is mostly for creating somewhat plausible gameplay using the tropey single medic, like Curtis Hoyle/Claire Temple patching up a superhero or an adventuring party's healer working on the fighter.)

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

    There are also minor complicating factors that can emerge and draw things out in a civilian/hospital setting - the last time my partner got stitches, her anesthetic kept wearing off and having to be reapplied, so it took 20-30 minutes. But thatís still nothing compared to ER triage, which can take many, many hours and involve repeated interviews for anything thatís not immediately life-threatening.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by The Jack View Post
    I was wondering that, since it goes around corners, it'd basically get all the ammo. secondary weapons like belt fed AA guns would make a mess. Lightning may also also a choice, as it apparently ignites objects.

    Other ways I'd be interesed in trying to take down a WWI ship with DnD magic.
    Enlisting a sea monster
    Send in spooky skeletons through the waters and up the ship.
    Fog and illusion magic to get ships in real close for boarding. Night raids'n underhanded spec ops style stuff is great, so players could do that stuff. Fly onto the ship in stealth, murder everyone.


    What did you end up going with for the invasion plan?
    Stuff like stinking cloud and cloudkill could work to take out a ship's crew pretty well if you can get your wizard close enough. Precise placement of chemical weapons

    As for the Ragesian invasion plan? By and large what you guys had suggested before. They landed at Kosuta No Ken, told the locals they were descendants of the divine, and promised to lead the country to greatness if handed the political reigns. A majority (but not all) of the locals thought this idea was swell, and the Ragesians took charge without much bloodshed. Now they've got an army of Kenjin warriors headed over to Sterich to secure a solid mainland base, and hired an army of shadar-kai mercenaries to pressure more important locations like Meltis (the gnome country). The Ragesians are focused mainly on getting their civilians integrated with the Kenjin, and they're only going to do naval and aerial raids as long as they have a steady supply of locals to do the ground fighting for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes
    If magic is allowed, a single 3.5e Wraith would do short work of a crew without magical weapons. It would turn its victims into Wraiths, who would in turn do the same to others...

    A 5e Wraith wouldn't be as unstoppable, but if it fights cleverly it could infiltrate the ship and use hit-and-runs tactics to turn the crew into Specters one by one and send them against the rest of the crewmen...
    None of the PCs are necromancers, but that idea would work quite well. Only the officers have magic weapons, and they'd be hard pressed to fight off a few hundred wraiths

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mendicant View Post
    Yeah this is what I'm looking for, thanks. I've got an idea of time frames for immediate interventions like tourniquets from my time in the military; I wanted a better idea of what a "moderate" injury's more end-stage treatment looks like, specifically the procedure itself. (Modern hospital time frames are useful too, but this is mostly for creating somewhat plausible gameplay using the tropey single medic, like Curtis Hoyle/Claire Temple patching up a superhero or an adventuring party's healer working on the fighter.)
    Some days ago I saw a WW2 documentary where they did an appendectomy onboard a submarine using a very limited set of medical tools (the retractors were a pair of bent spoons) under less than ideal circumstances by an apotechary/corpsman or some such. I think it took them 1-2 hours. Most of that was finding a small bleed. It was scheduled to take like 30m and the patient actually started coming through while the man doing the operation searched for the bleeding. Just as they were about to give and hope for the best they actually found it. The patient survived even though the submarine was dodging depthcharges not long after.

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

    How common it was for ancient/medieval cities to extend outside the walls ?
    Was it possible to have a majority of the urban population living outside the walls ?

    Also there was a minimum distance from the walls that buildings outside had to keep, for defensive reasons ?
    Last edited by BlacKnight; 2018-10-30 at 04:41 AM.

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

    Some oddity I ran into in antoher thread.

    A lietenant-general outranks a major-general but a major outranks a lietenant. One of things that always "bothers" me when I notice.

    It's like it's based off how much the other rank "discounts" the full rank (in this case general). So would a general-general be a private :D.
    Anyone got a good explanation?

    And didn't sergeant-majors be quite higly ranked officers.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by BlacKnight View Post
    How common it was for ancient/medieval cities to extend outside the walls ?
    Was it possible to have a majority of the urban population living outside the walls ?

    Also there was a minimum distance from the walls that buildings outside had to keep, for defensive reasons ?
    In antiquity, very common. Rome outgrew the Servian walls that had originally encompassed the city, they became little more than a boundary called the pomerium. It sprawled in every direction beyond them.

    Many cities didn't have a defensible core at all, but if they did, that might be a citadel on high ground. That wouldn't be where people lived, it was solely a last ditch stronghold to retreat to.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    A lietenant-general outranks a major-general but a major outranks a lietenant. One of things that always "bothers" me when I notice.

    It's like it's based off how much the other rank "discounts" the full rank (in this case general). So would a general-general be a private :D.
    Anyone got a good explanation?

    And didn't sergeant-majors be quite higly ranked officers.
    It's because the titles have been truncated. They were originally sergeant-major-general, lieutenant-general and captain-general. The sergeant and captain prefixes were dropped.
    Last edited by Kiero; 2018-10-30 at 04:49 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by BlacKnight View Post
    How common it was for ancient/medieval cities to extend outside the walls ?
    Was it possible to have a majority of the urban population living outside the walls ?

    Also there was a minimum distance from the walls that buildings outside had to keep, for defensive reasons ?
    Very common. But also it would be very common for cities to then extend citywalls around this "new city". Sometimes growing and ambitious cities built citywalls with room to spare. I think it was Florens who completed one such abitious project to meet foreseen population growth somewhere around the early 1350s.... DUN DUN DUUUNH

    However common doesn't mean they all did. Some were constrained by geography or laws (tihnk royal charters). So the city couldn't extend power outside it's citywalls and thus grown beyond it.

    I would doubt there are many cases where a majority of the city lived outside citywalls because there were important implications inherent.

    Again some towns would enforce certian rules as to building around them, for e.g. security reasons, but many towns had dwellings built very close. Now it also meant that in case of danger a town would torch it's suburbs to deny them to the enemy. Hence why you kinda wanted to live inside the walls (which might have been a requirement for citizenship e.g.). So basically I think they'd avoid construction too close to the citywalls in most cases. Where geography already didn't constrain it.

    And ofc a town was also better served by being surrounded by farms that supplied it with produce.

    Now a lot of this is going to depend on town/country laws, the relative power of town/countryside any outside power ie royal/noble/church etc etc etc. Some towns controlled substantila hinterlands around them, others lost their power outside the city gates.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    And ofc a town was also better served by being surrounded by farms that supplied it with produce.

    Now a lot of this is going to depend on town/country laws, the relative power of town/countryside any outside power ie royal/noble/church etc etc etc. Some towns controlled substantila hinterlands around them, others lost their power outside the city gates.
    The ancient Greeks called this necessary area the chora, and every city had one, of farms that supported their most immediate need for food.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    The ancient Greeks called this necessary area the chora, and every city had one, of farms that supported their most immediate need for food.
    Olive trees take a long time to grow, at least compared to wheat or the like. If you grow grain and the enemy army comes and scares off your farmers and burns/takes/prevents the farming of this year's crops, hopefully you had grain in storage and can farm next year. If they come and chop down your olive groves--pretty much game over. This made strategic control of immediate food land really important.

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

    Following on Kiero's point, the extent of a city had a lot to do with what kind of polity it was part of. Rome was part of a massive empire with a strong standing army, and security concerns took a back seat to growth for much of its history. Many of the cities of the middle ages had much more tenuous security, and tended to be fairly compact and to re-enclose themselves if they outgrew their walls. Norbert Schoenauer draws a distinction between the compactness of Rothenburg and Dubrovnik, which were compact and well-fortified, with Salisbury, which was safer and more spread out.

    Variance in population growth was a big factor as well. The black death was already alluded to; the fall of the Roman empire is another period in which urban populations declined quickly. The populations of cities didn't just retreat inside their walls, in Nimes and Arles they actually built fortified towns inside their repurposed ampitheaters Fallout-4 style.
    Last edited by Mendicant; 2018-10-30 at 11:53 AM.

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

    Even before Rome's overseas empire, it was relatively secure within Italy, which was secured by the 3rd century BC from the Po south.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by Mendicant View Post
    Norbert Schoenauer draws a distinction between the compactness of Rothenburg and Dubrovnik, which were compact and well-fortified, with Salisbury, which was safer and more spread out.
    That sounds read-worthy. Do you remember the work?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by BlacKnight View Post
    How common it was for ancient/medieval cities to extend outside the walls ?
    Was it possible to have a majority of the urban population living outside the walls ?

    Also there was a minimum distance from the walls that buildings outside had to keep, for defensive reasons ?
    Hmm I will try to give you an answer for medieval cities, and I generally disagree with for instance snowblizz "Very common", stance.

    First I will distinguish between the city extending beyond the walls, and smaller suburb-villages appearing/growing around the city.

    The first was generally not very common. While you can certainly find examples (especially in the late period when some walls might be obsolete due to canons), the general trend is to keep the city within the confines of the wall.

    One of the reasons is (as you allude to) is that if you have large masses of buildings close to the wall, you are effectively giving an enemy cover in case of sieges (even if you torch the houses in that case).

    But a second and more important reason is regulation and taxes: In the case of territorial towns (where the town acknowledged a feudal overlord such as a duke or king, even if they had extensive liberal rights) as snowblizz mentions there could be royal charters limiting all trade to within the city walls. Also quite frequently town rules only applied within the city walls (both for many free cities and territorial towns). This would highly limit the purpose of extending the town beyond the walls.
    The reason is not only a question of claiming power, but more so on trade regulation and taxes. This is why similar rules applied for many free towns (such as the Hanse towns in northern Germany). Taxation in a medieval world is hard, and taxation of trade is even harder. Thus it was important to keep the trade in specific places (towns or specialised market places). This was in the towns interest as well, as they did not want competition from outside their limits. If all trade happened in clearly delimited space (within the city wall) then you could make sure the correct taxation had been made, by checking imports/exports.

    The guilds can also control membership much better if all commerce happens IN the city, than if they have non-guildmembers of their profession living right outside their jurisdiction (outside the town wall).

    This I think is backed up by most medieval maps I have seen of cities, as well as my knowledge from excavations indicate that city activity drop off REALLY quickly outside the walls. Most of the time the building of a new wall (or extending and existing wall) predates intensive use of new areas of the town, again supporting a "within" wall city as the norm.

    Making town walls too large have been mentioned, and this certainly happened. One reason is of course to plan for expansion. Another reason is to have space for stuff like cattle markets, or even small scale farming to secure town resources in the case of sieges.

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    That said, there are of course exceptions. But I will argue that (at least before the 15th century) most towns would have 95-100% of their CITY area inside the walls.

    Then it is true that some of the city states owned extensive farmlands around the city and here would be villages where the town rights (freedom from serfdom, judged by city courts etc) would be extended, but rarely would there be trade or commerce in any extend in these villages (at least not officially... but they where likely prime candidates for illegal trade). There might of course be inns and taverns, or sometimes storehouses etc.

    This is also sometimes seen just around city gates, and would be the prime exception from my description above.

    In some towns you see large monasteries close to the city (so they can live off the wealth of the city/receive donations etc. but at the same time live more secluded and and without ever being in danger of getting mixed up in city courts).

    So most towns would stay mainly within its city wall, with just minor activity outside the walls. The just around the city you would see relatively large and wealthy villages and monastaries. Sometimes the villages would be part of city "jurisdiction" and sometimes not. But they are rarely "city-like". That is they have little trade and commerce etc.

    Of course there are exceptions, and I think some might quote many examples of exceptions, but I think they would be exceptions. At least during both the early and high middle ages, though as you get toward the end of the 15th century many changes occur and I am unsure to what degree this affects towns, though most does seem to stay within the walls (or at least having the vast majority of people of the individual city doing so).

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

    That's very insightful, Tobtor, thank you .

    Do you think it would be acceptable, from a medieval (city) lawmaker's perspective, to have a semi-permanent non-citizen community of labourers outside the city walls? Essentially a group of people who do not enjoy the protection of the city, but who are permitted to stay around for day labour and such, with the understanding that they'll be forced to flee in the case of siege?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armor or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVII

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Some oddity I ran into in antoher thread.

    A lietenant-general outranks a major-general but a major outranks a lietenant. One of things that always "bothers" me when I notice.

    It's like it's based off how much the other rank "discounts" the full rank (in this case general). So would a general-general be a private :D.
    Anyone got a good explanation?

    And didn't sergeant-majors be quite higly ranked officers.
    Very crude explanation, which is probably only roughly accurate - this is a condensing of about 500 years worth of organizational evolution.

    In the earliest stages of the modern rank system, you had groups of men under the command of "captains". These Captains could only be in once place at a time, and needed people to give orders in the places that they could not be. Thus, they appointed officers to tenant their men in lieu of them - lieutenants.

    As armies got bigger, it became clear that somebody had to give direction to all of these captains running around. Thus, the rank of "Captain General" - generally the supreme military commander of a nation - arose. Like regular captains, they needed to delegate, and this eventually resulted in the rank of Captain General Lieutenant.

    At the same time, the nobility had armed bodyguards and retainers known as Sergeants-At-Arms. These were also used for delegation, gradually resulting in the rank of Sergeant Major - who acted above the Captains but below the Generals Lieutenant. Regular sergeants served as infantry commanders, which is where the modern non-commissioned rank comes from.

    This still wound up being too inflexible, and the rank of Column Leader - Colonel (from the Italian for Column) was created, along with the rank of Column Leader Lieutenant, or Lieutenant Colonel. To manage the Colonels when they got too many for the Captains General to herd even with their Lieutenants, the ranks of Sergeant Major General and Brigadier were instituted.

    Eventually, the "Captain" and "Sergeant" bits got axed as addons, leaving the rough rank structure used today.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    That sounds read-worthy. Do you remember the work?
    6,000 Years of Housing by Norbert Schoenauer
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    It's a great reference. 474 big pages with at least one illustration or plan on almost every day one of them. Covers an immense range of history and basically the entire world. It's an unbeatable reference for someone trying to develop historically plausible towns.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    That's very insightful, Tobtor, thank you .

    Do you think it would be acceptable, from a medieval (city) lawmaker's perspective, to have a semi-permanent non-citizen community of labourers outside the city walls? Essentially a group of people who do not enjoy the protection of the city, but who are permitted to stay around for day labour and such, with the understanding that they'll be forced to flee in the case of siege?
    I find myself slightly sceptical to the idea. Societies right up to modern times liked to know where people were, where they were supposed to be and what they were up to.
    Semi-permanent non-citizen was about the dirtiest two words city socities knew.
    Any travellers would be viewed suspiciously and should be able to account for themselves. Which is why we get certain "markers" for pilgrims, journeyman systems are tightly regulated etc. Same goes for of itinerant worker or the absolutely worst case entertainers. These societies had very little ability to enforce rule of law on people who could just move on (and heck that problem exists to this day, but don't ask about that) so tended to take a very bleak view on such. Basically itinerant workers were only just tolerated for much of history for jobs absolutely noone wanted and for those who just could not be fit in to "normal" society. As always exceptions apply.

    If you have a market for jobs like that then a city is likely able to provide it's own non-citizen labourers from amongst the poor (likely absorbing populace into the city). Some cities had a large class of these people, again IIRC Florens, and other Italian cities that had a lot of manufacturing.

    Any such preexisting elements will ofc also vehemently oppose the competition from outside source ("they took our jobs!").

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

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    I find myself slightly sceptical to the idea. Societies right up to modern times liked to know where people were, where they were supposed to be and what they were up to.
    Semi-permanent non-citizen was about the dirtiest two words city socities knew.
    Any travellers would be viewed suspiciously and should be able to account for themselves. Which is why we get certain "markers" for pilgrims, journeyman systems are tightly regulated etc. Same goes for of itinerant worker or the absolutely worst case entertainers. These societies had very little ability to enforce rule of law on people who could just move on (and heck that problem exists to this day, but don't ask about that) so tended to take a very bleak view on such. Basically itinerant workers were only just tolerated for much of history for jobs absolutely noone wanted and for those who just could not be fit in to "normal" society. As always exceptions apply.

    If you have a market for jobs like that then a city is likely able to provide it's own non-citizen labourers from amongst the poor (likely absorbing populace into the city). Some cities had a large class of these people, again IIRC Florens, and other Italian cities that had a lot of manufacturing.

    Any such preexisting elements will ofc also vehemently oppose the competition from outside source ("they took our jobs!").
    During the XVI and XVII century, japanese and chinese merchants weren't allowed to dwell within Manila city walls, and had their own well-organized districts out of them. Those japanese and chinese immigrants who either converted to Catholicism or married and started a family were allowed to purchase or build a house inside the city walls.

    The reason was, many of these merchants were former pirates, slavers and smugglers, and they weren't trusted. However, converts were considered inherently more trustworthy because religion. As for married men, they were expected to care more for the future of Manila, since that was the home of their children, plus family men were thought to care more for stability and security and to avoid danger and travel, hence, they were less likely to commit crimes...

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    During the XVI and XVII century, japanese and chinese merchants weren't allowed to dwell within Manila city walls, and had their own well-organized districts out of them. Those japanese and chinese immigrants who either converted to Catholicism or married and started a family were allowed to purchase or build a house inside the city walls.

    The reason was, many of these merchants were former pirates, slavers and smugglers, and they weren't trusted. However, converts were considered inherently more trustworthy because religion. As for married men, they were expected to care more for the future of Manila, since that was the home of their children, plus family men were thought to care more for stability and security and to avoid danger and travel, hence, they were less likely to commit crimes...
    That is one common way how you deal with foreigners you just can't do without.

    Merchants usually fall under the got a semi/okay reason to be here. In a lot of such cases traders also formed "colonies" sort of, which tended to be integrated into the city somehow. Like the Hanse in London who had their own gate to defend. Jews in medieaval cities also formed a sort separate-but-ok-under-certain-circumstances population not quite part of the city but not totally separate either. In these cases would be common for the communities to share liabilities of one of the group. Because 1) they police themselves, and 2) recompense can be extracted evne if the culprit skips town.

    Basically try and locally invest people into the town to "buy-in" to the city rules if they are going to be a more permanent fixture.

    The problem with a reserve labour pool is that it is a likely source of unrest.

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

    Wow, thanks for the detailed answers !
    The legal matters are very interesting. I wonder how things worked in the Roman Empire.
    Was immigration more free and common ? I suppose yes, but on the other side I don't know how they could police themselves more efficiently.
    If someone from Minor Asia arrived in a big Italian city would he have been forbidden from inhabiting in the city center ? But if he committed a crime and then escaped to Gaul ?

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