The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by AdAstra View Post
    You bring up a lot of good points here.

    For the height thing, it might not matter much if you're one big guy alongside a bunch of smaller guys, but if you're forming a shield wall that's notably taller than average that might have more effect. Also a possibility is that tall people generally have a longer stride length. While other factors can kinda wash this out for running, a regular march is almost certainly going to be faster if the people involved are all tall (unless they have proportionally shorter legs). Not sure if it's enough to matter, but it's something.
    Maybe for marching short distances, though there is also drawbacks. Tall/big people are likely to get "stressed" legs 8various injuries to joints and muscles), also going through mountains might also give you difficulties (balance etc). So context is important. Flat terrain and moving on ships are definitely good for big people.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobtor View Post
    -Reach is one of them. While I think Mike_G is right that it is more important in one-on-one. But in battles there might arise many situations where your are one-on-one or where extra react let you attack the guy to your right (or left).
    As I've stated before, I'm by no means any sort of expert - but I really seriously doubt this is true.

    Sure, one tall guy in a line of men will make no difference what so ever. But if, in general, everyone of your guys is a head taller than everyone on the other side, that ENORMOUS. Pun kinda intended, sorry.

    It may be the matter of inches and milliseconds, if you calculate how much taller is each guy, and how much faster is he to the punch - but then you multiply that by every instance of greater reach, and then you look at the numbers. If each side starts with 1000 guys, but the taller side is just that wee bit faster - just a fraction - in every instance ... then before the shorter side ever gets to draw blood, maybe they're outnumbered by 10%. Maybe more. It's how pikes work, that's literally the only thing a pike is good for. (no, not literally, pikes have other things beside length)

    I'm just pulling numbers out of thin air. But there's quite simply no convincing me it isn't a factor.

    Edit: Oh, and that's not even counting creater strength for punching through defences, and weight for pushing the enemy on his hindside - I'm sure the shieldwall+push wasn't ever the only thing that happened, but I'm equally sure when it did, having 10 punds extra for each guy in the line made - again - an ENORMOUS difference.
    Last edited by Kaptin Keen; 2019-11-16 at 04:31 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    As I've stated before, I'm by no means any sort of expert - but I really seriously doubt this is true...

    I'm just pulling numbers out of thin air. But there's quite simply no convincing me it isn't a factor.
    .
    And these statements, taken together, are why I'm so frustrated.

    You admit to a lack of expertise, state your "belief," not experience, and say there is "no convincing you" that you're wrong

    Plenty of things "feel" like they should obviously be right, until you test them, then we find out they're wrong.

    I do claim some experience, like 30 years of combat training and sport and competition, and I don't believe, I have experienced, that reach is kind of nice, but not a huge factor, and becomes less and less of a factor the closer you get to a battlefield situation from a formalized one on one duel, and even more so the less rule bound the situation.
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2019-11-16 at 05:14 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    First off... Thank you all for yout replies to my previous questions. I really appreciate your commitment to sharing your knowledge with the rest of out community.

    So... I've been researching other naval invasions besides the viking expansion.

    I started looking into the Mongol invasion of Japan... I think I got the overall picture, but the finer points remain unclear to me.

    What were the main factors for the Japanese victory? Kamikazes aside, from what I could gather the Mongols had access to better weapons and armor, but couldn't mount an effective naval force... Is that correct?

    If so... Was that it? Was it something else? Multiple factors?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    And these statements, taken together, are why I'm so frustrated.

    You admit to a lack of expertise, state your "belief," not experience, and say there is "no convincing you" that you're wrong

    Plenty of things "feel" like they should obviously be right, until you test them, then we find out they're wrong.

    I do claim some experience, like 30 years of combat training and sport and competition, and I don't believe, I have experienced, that reach is kind of nice, but not a huge factor, and becomes less and less of a factor the closer you get to a battlefield situation from a formalized one on one duel, and even more so the less rule bound the situation.
    Well .. are we discussing your experience? Are we discussing 1 on 1 martial arts? No. We're not. I have been boxing for 15 years, I'm pretty good*, and I know for a damn fact that reach is paramount. But my 1 on 1 martial arts experience is precisely as irrelevant to this discussion as is your own.

    I'm going to suggest we simply agree to disagree. Or, I welcome you to consider the argument won. If you know so much better, then why concern yourself with how wrong I am? Leave me to my misguided perceptions, and move on.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    First off... Thank you all for yout replies to my previous questions. I really appreciate your commitment to sharing your knowledge with the rest of out community.

    So... I've been researching other naval invasions besides the viking expansion.

    I started looking into the Mongol invasion of Japan... I think I got the overall picture, but the finer points remain unclear to me.

    What were the main factors for the Japanese victory? Kamikazes aside, from what I could gather the Mongols had access to better weapons and armor, but couldn't mount an effective naval force... Is that correct?

    If so... Was that it? Was it something else? Multiple factors?
    Per a few different things I've read, there's some evidence that the Chinese and Korean ship-builders made some deliberate crucial errors (see, masts not affixed at the bottom to the hull, just where they passed through the deck, for one example) in the ships for the invasion fleet, and that some of the ships used were suited for river use but not ocean use, all of which made the ships more vulnerable to stormy seas.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Well .. are we discussing your experience? Are we discussing 1 on 1 martial arts? No. We're not. I have been boxing for 15 years, I'm pretty good*, and I know for a damn fact that reach is paramount. But my 1 on 1 martial arts experience is precisely as irrelevant to this discussion as is your own.
    And this is where you are wrong.

    I have done sword and shield combat, polearm combat and group combat. And I've done some training in small group combat where we weren't trying to win a game, we were learning and practicing how to kill people with knives or bayonets.

    So you experience is in no way "precisely as irrelevant" as mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post

    I'm going to suggest we simply agree to disagree. Or, I welcome you to consider the argument won. If you know so much better, then why concern yourself with how wrong I am? Leave me to my misguided perceptions, and move on.
    I think you miss the point of a discussion board entirely.
    Out of wine comes truth, out of truth the vision clears, and with vision soon appears a grand design. From the grand design we can understand the world. And when you understand the world, you need a lot more wine.


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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobtor View Post

    Size of soldiers
    While 'big' isn't always better, many armies in history have have height requirements of their elite soldiers, thus we must assume it DID have an importance.
    -Strength is one of them. While strong being hit doesn't save your from wounds or give you more "hit points" it offer you more strength to hit the opponent, using big shields and big weapons. Maybe its only a 5% improvement, but everything counts
    -Reach is one of them. While I think Mike_G is right that it is more important in one-on-one. But in battles there might arise many situations where your are one-on-one or where extra react let you attack the guy to your right (or left). Again, mayne its just the little things
    -Fear. Seeing a group of enemies larger than yourself is scary! Even in LARPS (where people don't die for real) it has an effect. I would imagine that it also do en real battles! It is also a thing the Romans note. If your army is really disciplined (like Romans legions) it might matter less. But otherwise, yes a huge advantage.

    Now size have its costs as well. Large people consume more energy to move around, thus you need more food transported for each soldier. And then you need more transport animal, and then the draft animals need more food etc. But of course of you travel by ship the weight increase is unimportant, and anyway you can transport goods easier.

    It is also noticeable that both Romans and later franks etc in the medieval period made notice of the size of the "northmen". They definitely thought it mattered, and while they might not always be correct we must assume they knew more than us of how it was to fight them.
    There is a funny story about a German army in Medieval Apulia. The Apulians and the Germans were staring at each other across the battlefield, and the Apulians were terrified by their size, since they were a whole head taller. In the end, the Apulian commander had to ride alone up to the Germans, behead one of them, and then ride back screaming "See? They aren't that tall if you chop their head off!" The story is probably a legend, and I can't even recall where I read it.

    On a more serious note, there was a provision in the Codex Theodosianus (7.13.3) which lowered the size of Roman recruits to 1.64 m (from 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 7 inches) for certain units. Vegetius would later say that a strong soldier was better than a tall soldier, and the same Codex Theodosianus recognised that some people were simply too weak or short to be soldiers (7.1.5).

    There also is a pace in Polybius about how scary nude Gauls were to the Romans, since they were in their prime and physically impressive. (Histories 2.29)
    I highly doubt this. There are plenty of central Eurpeopean slat sources for the celts, and in Scandinavia - if you eats plenty of seafood (oysters, fish etc) and meat, then salt is NOT a concerns in terms of nutrition (though it might be for conserving your food).
    The advantage I referred to was early on, during the early expansion in central Italy. Having a steady source of salt when food sources could be disrupted by famine or disease wasn't a small thing; certain regions, like Sabinium, did suffer from lack of nutrients. There's also that, in theory, the Romans could block export of salt from the mouth of the Tiber, although I am not aware of them doing so.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful — but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobtor View Post
    Maybe for marching short distances, though there is also drawbacks. Tall/big people are likely to get "stressed" legs 8various injuries to joints and muscles), also going through mountains might also give you difficulties (balance etc). So context is important. Flat terrain and moving on ships are definitely good for big people.
    Frederick Engels did a series of articles in 1855 about European armies --
    General Napier maintains that the British soldier is the heaviest laden fighting animal in the world; but he had never seen these French African campaigners carry, beside their arms and personal baggage, tents, firewood, provisions, heaped up on their backs to a height far overtowering their shakos, and thus march thirty or forty miles in a day, under a tropical sun. And then compare the big, clumsy British soldier, who, in time of peace, measures five feet six inches, at least, with the puny, short-legged, tailor-like Frenchman, of four feet ten! And still, the little Frenchman, under all his load, remains a capital light-infantry-man; skirmishes, trots, gallops, lies down, jumps up, all the while loading, firing, advancing, retiring, dispersing, rallying, re-forming, and displays not only twice as much agility, but also twice as much intelligence as his bony competitor from the island of "rosbif."

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_G View Post
    I think you miss the point of a discussion board entirely.
    Or maybe you do? My feeling is that one should engage in interesting discussion. I cannot for the life of me imagine why you'd feel this pointless bickering is worth pursuing. We don't agree. We never will. I've heard your argument - you've heard mine. We're not going anywhere.

    I have friends who go to those big games in Poland, and actually fight in chain mail, with sword and shield, in massed formations. I'd dismiss their experience as handily as yours. It simply does not work that way. If you need a referee to tell you whether you're dead or not - you're not getting any real experience.

    Now, I'm going to leave this thread.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fusilier View Post
    Frederick Engels did a series of articles in 1855 about European armies --
    The way the French soldiers were loaded in Africa may have had something to do with how France generally kept the colonial budget as small as possible, especially compared to England.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful — but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    I started looking into the Mongol invasion of Japan... I think I got the overall picture, but the finer points remain unclear to me.

    What were the main factors for the Japanese victory? Kamikazes aside, from what I could gather the Mongols had access to better weapons and armor, but couldn't mount an effective naval force... Is that correct?

    If so... Was that it? Was it something else? Multiple factors?
    As I understand it, the first Mongol invasion* simply ran out of men and then when they retreated back to their ships, they got caught in a storm and most drowned. It's hypothesised that the first invasion was primarily a 'reconnaissance in force' attempt and despite initial Mongol successes, once the Japanese had mobilised, the Mongols were defeated despite their superior experience (the Japanese hadn't been in a major engagement for over 50 years) and weaponry (catapult launched gunpowder shells among other things) due to numbers and superior knowledge of the terrain.

    The second invasion ran into problems against the now prepared Japanese and the Mongols were unable to make landfall in force. Shortly thereafter, they were kamikaze'd and the few troops that were still on Japanese soil were mopped up.

    There's a couple of differences between the First and Second invasions - the Second invasion had significant sea wall defences prepared, enabling the Japanese repel the Mongols. A second was the development of the shorter katana from the longer tachi blades - during the first invasion, the tachi had issued with the Mongol armour, often chipping and/or breaking.
    Popular telling also has it that after the first invasion, the Japanese knew the importance of fighting for Japan, rather than themselves and their allies, but I suspect that to be national identity building folklore/propaganda.

    I have head a possibly apocryphal tale that the thick shoulder armour of later Mongolian armour was developed in response to Japanese swordsmanship, primarily the downwards strike from a high guard (hasso no kamae, similar to right vom Tag in Liechtenauer).


    *Really looking forward to Ghost of Tsushima, which is set on the island of Tsushima in the immediate aftermath of the Mongols conquest during the first invasion.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    A second was the development of the shorter katana from the longer tachi blades - during the first invasion, the tachi had issued with the Mongol armour, often chipping and/or breaking.
    I have a host of problems with this claim. First of them being that Japanese did have heavy armor, and frankly, once you hit a hard object with a sword, the sword will eventually break, how well made the armor is doesn't matter that much. Furthemore, it requires Japanese to be idiots, since they are hitting a guy in armor with a sword - and we know they weren't, Japan has halfswording techniques to deal with armor.

    More believable version of this claim is that they found out the tips on their swords broke off - possible when going against riveted chain mail with bad steel, but there's one problem bigger than any of these. Swords don't matter that much.

    Japanese fought primarily with bows or polearms at pretty much any point in time - Musashi lists best weapons for battlefield, that being musket, bow and naginata. As long as your sword isn't of utterly appalling quality, faling apart after a few hits, it'll be good enough sidearm.

    So, changes in sword design as a result of Mongols are possible, this being a major factor in any engagement is highly unlikely.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Popular telling also has it that after the first invasion, the Japanese knew the importance of fighting for Japan, rather than themselves and their allies, but I suspect that to be national identity building folklore/propaganda.
    This is IMO more likely than you think - time and again we see enemies of Mongols thinking they are just another steppe horde and ignoring them while infighting - and then getting stomped. Khwarezmian and European invasions were both easier for the Mongols because of this, and Hungaruan is especially interesting as a parallel - Bela IV learned his lesson from the Mongols, started massive fortification effort in the kingdom, and thus made sure another invasion would have a much, much ahrder time.

    In case of Hungary, second Mongol invasion did fail (or third if you count recon in force before the first as a separate thing), although it was definitely a smaller undertaking - for starters, it was against Hungary alone, not a aprt of two-pronged attack into eastern Europe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I have head a possibly apocryphal tale that the thick shoulder armour of later Mongolian armour was developed in response to Japanese swordsmanship, primarily the downwards strike from a high guard (hasso no kamae, similar to right vom Tag in Liechtenauer).
    This is just straight BS. That stance is literally everywhere:

    Spoiler: Miao Dao and Jian, China, ~1600
    Show


    Spoiler: Persia, ~1400
    Show


    Spoiler: Aztec Jaguar and Eagle warriors
    Show


    And perhaps most damningly:

    Spoiler: Mongol sack of Baghdad, top middle of both images, ~1300
    Show


    Mongols did meet people with two handed weapons using this stance, and likely used it themselves.



    As for why Mongols failed, looking at Mongol invasions in wider context reveals why. Mongol armies were at their peak efficiency when they could use their speed to some advantage, usually by retreating at speed, often tricking their opponents into thinking they are routing. Hungarian invasion saw them retreat like this from Buda to Mohi, a distance of about 400 km, still keep cohesion, turn around, organize a major battle with three separete army groups and them immediately starting to pursue the fleeing defeated Hungarians.

    If you decide to navally invade anything, you loose all of those advantages - there is nowhere to retreat to, especially not in a country that has castles the way Japan does. Besiege one and you get hit from two sides when relief comes, pass by and you get shot/harassed from them. Mountains don't help either, although Mongols were generally more adept at taking hilly terrain than you might think, they still had some trouble with it.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    Japanese fought primarily with bows or polearms at pretty much any point in time - Musashi lists best weapons for battlefield, that being musket, bow and naginata. As long as your sword isn't of utterly appalling quality, faling apart after a few hits, it'll be good enough sidearm.
    While I don't have an issue with any of your counterpoints, I would bear in mind the date of the Mongol Invasions (late 13th Century) and be careful in using a much later source (Miyamoto was writing around in the early/mid 17th Century) to extrapolate influences.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    While I don't have an issue with any of your counterpoints, I would bear in mind the date of the Mongol Invasions (late 13th Century) and be careful in using a much later source (Miyamoto was writing around in the early/mid 17th Century) to extrapolate influences.
    That makes them even less concentrated on swords, as Kamakura period primarily sees samurai serve as horse archers. I'd love to use sources that aren't Musashi for Japanese martial arts but, you know, I don't have any. Maybe there are some, but I haven't seen anything translated. The two periods that saw more significant sword use are Heian (straight sword and shield) and Edo (katana and wakizashi), and both are debatable even then because yari are a thing that exists.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

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

    I'm working on a character who has a sword slung behind his back. It's kind of a falchion-adjacent thing with a slightly curved blade.
    I was wondering...is there a certain weight limit for the whole "weapon backpack" stereotype in real life, and what kind of weapons are a bit under that limit? It won't affect my character, but I was thinking about it and this occurred to me.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Squire Doodad View Post
    I'm working on a character who has a sword slung behind his back. It's kind of a falchion-adjacent thing with a slightly curved blade.
    I was wondering...is there a certain weight limit for the whole "weapon backpack" stereotype in real life, and what kind of weapons are a bit under that limit? It won't affect my character, but I was thinking about it and this occurred to me.
    It's really more of a length limit. The blade cannot be longer, hilt to tip, than your arm. Because if you reach over your shoulder with your 80 cm arm and pull your 100 cm blade from its over-the-shoulder scabbard, when your arm is fully straightened, there's still about 20 cm of blade in the scabbard, and you can't pull any further. That's one benefit of a cross-body draw from a belt scabbard; you get to add the distance from your shoulder to the opposite hip to that 80 cm of arm, and that's how you can draw a 110 cm rapier.

    As far as weight goes, properly distributed, you can carry as much weight on your back as you can carry period. I suspect that no single-handed weapon ever built weighed too much for a fit, adult human to carry on their back.

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

    I suppose he could have a slit on one side of the scabbard to make it possible to draw the weapon sideways after pulling it a certain distance...

    e.g.: Using the example of the 80 cm arm pulling a 100 cm sword, the scabbard could have a 20 cm-long slit starting at its top. This way he could draw it sideways after pulling the blade 80 cm straight up. Could also make the slit longer so that you don't have to pull the blade the full extension of your arm before drawing sideways... But of course, the longer the slit, the more exposure to the elements it suffers (maybe add a fabric on top of the slit to give a little more protection). It'd still probably be slow to sheathe... But then again, if you're putting the weapon away, chances are you are not in a hurry anymore.

    Probably still not good for quick draws, which can be deadly... But pretty good way to carry a longer weapon during travels and adventuring. Just keep a shorter one on yout belt for those moments when you need to draw immediately... That's pretty much what my last "wandering swordsman"-type character did.

    IMHO, it's a good compromise between "historical accuracy" and "fantasy imagery".
    Last edited by Lemmy; 2019-11-24 at 11:15 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Squire Doodad View Post
    I'm working on a character who has a sword slung behind his back. It's kind of a falchion-adjacent thing with a slightly curved blade.
    I was wondering...is there a certain weight limit for the whole "weapon backpack" stereotype in real life, and what kind of weapons are a bit under that limit? It won't affect my character, but I was thinking about it and this occurred to me.
    I think the simple answer is that people didn't carry weapons on their back. Instead, they carried it on their shoulder. See the first one from the left or the one here. Even today, marching soldiers either carry their rifle that way, or strapping it to their shoulder (or, in parades, sometimes holding it with both hands before their chest).

    Practicality aside, I wouldn't worry about the weight. A Garand rifle weighs around 5 kg, which I believe is more than swords, longswords, or even most warhammers (the German Wikipedia lists some Lucerne Hammer at 14 kg, I have no idea if it's true). A beginner will huff and puff beneath a 10-20 kg backpack, but he still will be able to walk long distances (20-40 km).
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful — but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

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

    In later time periods I've heard soldiers would sling their "hangers" over their backs on long marches. During WW1, American doughboys attached their bayonets to the knapsack with the hilt sticking up over the left shoulder -- I've seen many reenactors struggle to reach it, and if they do get it out, somebody else has to return it to the scabbard! But it was the official way of carrying it (when the knapsack was worn).

    Sword scabbards worn on the side are more convenient for drawing a sword quickly. At the same time they can be annoying: while running sometimes the scabbard can end up between the legs tripping the runner. Leather scabbards were supposedly preferred for infantry for this reason -- the idea being that they were flexible enough to not trip up the runner -- although if your sword is in the scabbard it doesn't matter (furthermore all modern leather scabbards I've seen are too stiff). Proper adjustment of the sword belt/frog can help, but if my off hand is free I usually keep it on the scabbard. They can also be a bit of a pain getting caught on things, and on long marches can bounce against the hip.

    So the desire to carry a sword on the back is understandable. I can imagine that it would be useful if scrambling up a mountain or over boulders; freeing up the hands and keeping the sword well out of the way. That said, there's scant evidence that it was done historically, and there's probably good reason for that.

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

    A major consideration for a Geralt-esque sword on back is that precisely the situations it’d be most useful for - easily distributes weight and leaves hands and legs tangle free during long marches, climbing, etc. - are the situations you are most likely to be carrying a pack of your own. Which would then either sit over the sword (uncomfortable, inconvenient, and breaks the sacred mantra of keep the load close and high on your back), or under it (the sword now sticks out from behind at an angle and you have to avoid hitting your head with the hilt...preferable, but not exactly “rush in to battle”).

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

    From an historical perspective back scabbards were generally not a thing. The vast majority of sword users used a side scabbard.

    When they did use back scabbards it was generally as place to carry the sword when it wasn’t in use. Examples being landschnects carry zweihanders and samurai carrying no-dachi, which are long swords that would be inconvenient/impractical to carry in a side scabbard. Other examples being engineers and artillerymen slinging their swords in their backs because they needed both hands free and their legs unimpeded while they did their main job. There are some examples of photos of Chinese soldiers wearing short falchion like blades on their backs in the 19th century, but I don’t the context of why they were carrying the sword in their back. Sailors would often carry their swords slung across their back, but in the age of sail you had plenty of time to move the sword from the back to the hand, so there was no quick draw from the back.

    From a practical perspective shadiversity on you tube has constructed a practical back scabbard for European longswords and has some videos about how to construct and use it. If you want your character to be Geralt or Groo the Barbarian (the original Deadpool with dual katanas in a back scabbard ) then it is possible to build a functioning back scabbard.

    From an historical perspective side scabbards were so useful and universal that no one went to the trouble of inventing a quick draw able to use the sword immediately back scabbard. As far as I can ascertain sword that were carried on the back historically were done so for the purpose of making it easier to carry while they did other things, not for the purpose of being able to wield the weapon quickly

  23. - Top - End - #623
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Historical aspect of back scabbards is easily determined, so I'll address the practical alone.

    First off, if you have a backpack or anything else that takes up your back, like a cloak, forget about it, you have better things to carry on your back. Sure, you can sort of do it with a cloak - if you ingore that cloak is supposed to be a waterproof thing, so any slit in it is bad, and easily removable if you get into fighting, so any additional straps over it are bad. Most cloaks also have a separat hood that covers the top of your shoulders, so you have two things getting in the way.

    One thing people ever so often forget and/or don't have experience with is moving around in unaltered terrain. I don't mean really hard stuff like alpine, just your ordinary forest full of shrubs and thorns when you aren't following a trail. That is the context in which you have to consider using a back scabbard - while army is likely to follow the roads most of the time, it will often stray from them, possibly to fan out its front shieldwall.

    Yes, Shad's back scabbard works well in his backyard, or in modern forest without much undergrowth and with branches high up, but once you start to have low ceiling, problems start. Not only will your sword snag, unlike side scabbard, it will have a tendency to topple you if you move too quickly, and you will not be able to see where and how it is stuck, especially if wearing a helmet or hood. Side scabbards do snag, but because of how they are strapped to your hip, you pull the out of snaggage by moving forward vast majority of the time.

    Just about the only viable way to do this is to use the scabbard as you would a rifle sling. Sometimes, you will have the sword across your back, sometimes only slung over one shoulder along the backpack, sometimes just carry it in your hand. You see this done historically in two cases. Either the sword is your main weapon and you will have it in hand long before action starts, so sidearm concern of being able to get to it quickly doesn't apply, and you are likely carrying it on the baggage train anyway - this is the samurai and Landsknecht case. Or the scabbard is not particularly well made, so you just do the easiest thing to make it work and attach string to two places and make do - this is the case in those famous Chinese photos.

    Unfortunately, this means that Witchers are exactly the sort of people that would avoid back scabbards like the plague - they have to go into wilderness on foot to fight animals that can pounce at any second. Since they need two swords, something like a double scabbard for the hip would probably be best for them.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

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

    My conclusion is that there is only one truly viable solution for scabbards - single, double, side, back .. it's all the same. The Golfer's Option is the only way to go.

    That is, have a sword caddie carry your implements of death, and just ask for the one you need. As in:

    Ah, another Manticore. May I propose your #3 sword, Sir?

    No thank you Jeeves old sport, I think I'll try the #7, see if I can land it's head in yonder pond.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    My conclusion is that there is only one truly viable solution for scabbards - single, double, side, back .. it's all the same. The Golfer's Option is the only way to go.

    That is, have a sword caddie carry your implements of death, and just ask for the one you need. As in:

    Ah, another Manticore. May I propose your #3 sword, Sir?

    No thank you Jeeves old sport, I think I'll try the #7, see if I can land it's head in yonder pond.
    There is a Japanese samurai/comedy movie that does exactly this. I forget the name of it, but it was exactly as you described.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    My conclusion is that there is only one truly viable solution for scabbards - single, double, side, back .. it's all the same. The Golfer's Option is the only way to go.

    That is, have a sword caddie carry your implements of death, and just ask for the one you need. As in:

    Ah, another Manticore. May I propose your #3 sword, Sir?

    No thank you Jeeves old sport, I think I'll try the #7, see if I can land it's head in yonder pond.
    For the record. Some medieval knights had a position called the armsbearer. This is pretty much what they did.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    My conclusion is that there is only one truly viable solution for scabbards - single, double, side, back .. it's all the same. The Golfer's Option is the only way to go.

    That is, have a sword caddie carry your implements of death, and just ask for the one you need. As in:

    Ah, another Manticore. May I propose your #3 sword, Sir?

    No thank you Jeeves old sport, I think I'll try the #7, see if I can land it's head in yonder pond.
    Dash it all! Sliced it!

    A Manticore? Should have gone with the glaive, old bean.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    For the record. Some medieval knights had a position called the armsbearer. This is pretty much what they did.
    Wasn't this also one of a squire's duties for his knight?

    I know a mounted samurai typically went around with anything up to 3 ashigaru and a non-combatant groom to hold the horse when the samurai dismounted to fight.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Wasn't this also one of a squire's duties for his knight?

    I know a mounted samurai typically went around with anything up to 3 ashigaru and a non-combatant groom to hold the horse when the samurai dismounted to fight.
    Sometimes. There really isn't a lot of consistency as far as I can tell. There were even knights that had several armsbearers and squires. I've seen theories that in such situations armsbearers carried weapons while squires were more concerned with armor and horses. Others have theorized that armsbearers were a more active combatant, meaning that the armsbearer was a fighting servant as opposed to someone who's job it was to hold weapons. But in the Gesta Tancredi there are several situations where the armsbearers just sort of stand back to let the knights fight, so I'm not particularly convinced by that one. Though it could of course just be a situation where the role changed over time.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Sometimes. There really isn't a lot of consistency as far as I can tell. There were even knights that had several armsbearers and squires. I've seen theories that in such situations armsbearers carried weapons while squires were more concerned with armor and horses. Others have theorized that armsbearers were a more active combatant, meaning that the armsbearer was a fighting servant as opposed to someone who's job it was to hold weapons. But in the Gesta Tancredi there are several situations where the armsbearers just sort of stand back to let the knights fight, so I'm not particularly convinced by that one. Though it could of course just be a situation where the role changed over time.
    doubtless, this will be ANOTHER situation where everything is needlessly complicated by the subtle shifting of meanings in words over time and space, so where one writer uses it in one way and another in a second, different way, and both are "correct".

    it could be that the difference between armbearers and squires is a social one, in that many squires were in theory "knights in training", and many thus of some social standing, as opposed to a "commoner" armsbearer.

    just to muddy the waters a little more, the Wikipedia article on squires has this litte tidbit of etymology:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Squire is a shortened version of the word esquire, from the Old French escuier (modern French écuyer), itself derived from the Late Latin scutarius ("shield bearer"), in medieval or Old English a scutifer. The Classical Latin equivalent was armiger ("arms bearer").

    so, it could very well be that "Squire" and "Arms Bearer" were Synonyms, at least in some times and places.
    Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
    But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.

    "Tommy", Rudyard Kipling

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