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  1. - Top - End - #541
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    When did we first see battles in which there is major fighting between main forces over multiple days, and what developments in technology and organization made this possible?

    It seems to become a frequent occurrence in the American Civil War, but there was also the Battle of Leipzig some 70 years earlier.
    There were earlier occurrences of multi day battles, like the Battle of Thermopylae (which took three days), the Battle of Alesia (three days) and the Battle of Bannockburn (two days) to name some famous ones. In the first two it involves armies that have a position to defend which might be an explanation (they do not really have the option to retreat and regroup).

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    When did we first see battles in which there is major fighting between main forces over multiple days, and what developments in technology and organization made this possible?

    It seems to become a frequent occurrence in the American Civil War, but there was also the Battle of Leipzig some 70 years earlier.
    Quote Originally Posted by pauly
    There have been battles over several days throughout history. In the pre gunpowder era they were more common in Asia than in Europe.

    Some factors that make a multiple day battle more likely include.
    - Very large armies.
    - Both sides having favorable defensive ground.
    - A reliance on missile weapons over melee.
    - Evenly matched opponents (after taking into account technology differences and terrain advantages).

    The two big factors that made 20th century warfare feature multiple day battles as standard
    - dispersed formations due to machine guns, smokeless rifles and efficient artillery.
    - the ability to command further, through field telegraphs, telephones and wireless. This allows further dispersion of troops and the co-ordination of reserves.
    well, its worth noting that the descriptions of several ancient battles imply that it was semi common for the two armies to be in close-ish contact for several days or even weeks before the actual fight, with manouvering for position, shows of strength, minor skirmishes, etc. Often, one side was holding favourable ground, and unwilling to abandon it unless induced to by some external pressure (for example, lifting a siege, or getting home before harvest)

    Also, ancient and pre modern armies took a long time to deploy into battle array, often many hours, even with articulated command structures and a clear plan (factors that were often lacking), and the difficulty in doing so would lead commanders to be wary of staying in combat range of an enemy if they had any choice in the matter. So, they'd have their camp some distance back, far enough away to be safe.

    Arguably, the biggest reason battles took longer in the 19th and 20th century is switch to firepower as the primary means of combat over shock action. Because of this (relative) reluctance of troops to close into melee, combined the with the (relative) ease of keeping a flintlock in a ready to fire state, it made it practical for an army to sleep overnight only a few miles form the enemy without being suicidally vulnerable to a surprise night attack*, and by extension able to carry on the fight again the next day.

    also, its party a matter of what you count as a battle. We split "Waterloo", "Quatre Bras" and "Ligny" into three separate battles, even though the latter two happened at the same time and not too far apart, and involved two wings of the same French army, and the Waterloo happened the next day, and involved the same armies moving directly form one battle to the other. Today, we'd count all three actions as part of the same battle.

    It helps that modern combat doesn't really stop at night, so its easier to think of the battle continuing as the fighting doesn't stop.

    *not saying that night attacks could not or did not happen, but only that a redcoat could go form sleeping to combat ready in minute or two, by grabbing his musket and cartridge belt and joining the fight in whatever he happened to be sleeping in, while a medieval knight caught asleep needed much longer to strap all his armour on and get ready for a fight.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    As many have mentioned, there were certainly multi-day battles throughout history. If you had to pick just one difference as to why they were so rare, it was that for a battle to actually occur (as opposed to skirmishing, patrolling, and so forth) for the overwhelming majority of history either both sides had to want to fight, or one side had to be physically trapped.

    If either of those conditions didn’t exist, the army which didn’t want to fight simply withdrew, moved to a different position, didn’t come down off its hill, or - if defeated - routed away into an unmanageable mess. Pursuing an enemy doing any one of those was quite difficult, particularly because even if you did catch them it would take hours (days, in some cases) to actually deploy your forces to attack them.

    It’s hard to say exactly what changed that and made it “the norm” in the 20th century and beyond. It’s a mix of vast increases in range for not just small arms but also artillery, aircraft, and later tanks which could all extend the depth of the tactical and operational battlefield to a point where there were no “safe” spots near the fighting. Communications, rapid transport and mechanization allowed forces to move quickly enough to force a battle on an unwilling party, and to attack from the March.

    At the same time, the battlefield got dispersed and more small unit focused at the micro level, so the physical and mental impediments of assembling, moving over terrain at night, became less vital. They were replaced with massive organizational and logistical impediments, handled by ever growing staffs, but once you actually started fighting tactical units were a lot faster to act...

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Corneel View Post
    There were earlier occurrences of multi day battles, like the Battle of Thermopylae (which took three days), the Battle of Alesia (three days) and the Battle of Bannockburn (two days) to name some famous ones. In the first two it involves armies that have a position to defend which might be an explanation (they do not really have the option to retreat and regroup).
    The naval battle accompanying Thermopylae, at Artemisium was a multi-day affair, too.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    When does shooting a guy become a skirmish become a battle become a campaign become a war? That's what we're dealing with here, in essence, and the line was never clear and always somewhat arbitrary. You could try to come up with hard definitions, but then you get a lot of weird battles that aren't really battles and so on.

    I'm familiar with ancient history, but not all that well-versed in it, so I'll skip to medieval from the get go, and we'll look at examples of major battles in Hungary between Mongol invasion and start of Anjou dynasty. Because things like these are better with examples.

    Mohi 1241

    The annihilation of Hungarian army by Mongols, albeit not as one sided as people generally think. Still, Mongols won pretty decisively.

    The action started on 12th march in Verecke pass when mongols busted through the fortifications and army of palatine Dennis Tomaj. What is called battle of Mohi doesn't start until a month later, but during this time, Tomaj retreats to Pesc where Hungarian armies are gathering, the king Bela IV orders not to engage mongols until the armies are gathered, his ally, Austrian Duke Friedrich II attacks them anyway and defeats a small detachment of them and then bows out, and mongols pillage all the while, laying siege to small towns on the Hungarian Plain. This is, effectively, a month of constant action for both sides.

    Once the Hungarian army moves out of Pest, Mongols start to retreat, well aware of its power, and stop only after crossing river Sajo near Mohi. Hungarians reach it and erect a fortified camp on 10th april.

    The battle itself happens, what with mongols buiulding improvised bridges, successful Hungarian counterattacks and close, but destructive defeat of Hungarian army. It took at least 12 hours, likely more, because of needed movement.

    After this, the king retreats all the way to Dalmatia (think Croatian coast, if not well versed in European geography) under constant attacks from Mongol host that turns around and starts to pillage the country for two years. During those two years, there is near-constant fighting, as well-fortified towns in hilly terrain resist the invasion, and less well fortified towns don't. Mongols have significant trouble crossing the Danube, and only succeed after it freezes.

    Leitha river 1246

    We know bugger all about this battle - about the only info is that Friedrich II was killed in it and who fought it, nothing on how it went.

    Kressenbrunn 1260

    Two armies camped out for quite possibly several days on their side of the river and double-dog-dared the other one to cross. Battle itself happened when one side decided to let the other to cross so they can finally fight it out, and lasted for a few hours at the most.

    Marchfeld 1278

    Happened as response to siege on Laa an der Thaya by Ottokar II, which lasted for we have no idea how long. The chronicles mention that the response was rather quick, so probably no more than a few days.

    Allied Hungarian and German forces opposing Ottokar arrived at Marchfeld at least a day in advance and started to scout out the terrain, and on 26th august, their nomad light cavalry started to harass Ottokar's army from dawn. The clash between the main bodies happened at midday, and lasted probably about an hour or so. CLeanup lasted several days, as the nomad troops pursued the running enemy.

    Rozhanovce/Rozgony 1321

    So, we have no clear timetable, but bear with me. Hungarian king Charles Robert is cleaning out the nobles that resist him, he besieges Saris castle. One of said nobles (Matthew Csak) moves against him, so Charles retreats to recruit more troops. The Abas, another noble family opposed to the king, hears of his retreat and besieges the town of Kosice. The king hears about this, turns around and tries to hit them before the Aba and Csak armies unite. Aba army hears of this, so it moves to advantageous position on the banks of Torysa river, near Rozhanovce, where the battle happens before Csak army arrives in full.

    The battle itself lasts only about an hour or so, because Abas decide to do a massive charge along the entire front, and it almost works. Only quick flanking manuever by the elite Hospitaller forces saves the king. Csak army withdraws after hearing of the defeat.

    Summary

    So, that's five major battles that give us a pretty neat representative view of... major battles, I guess. We know nothing about one, so let's focus on the four. Two of them happened because of sieges being intercepted, one because of a ford being a chokepoint, and one because both sides were confident of their own victory.

    All of them except Mohi have single day as official duration, Mohi has two. But, if we look at what is a battle with a WW1 mindset, then we can well call the initial phase of mongol invasion ending at Mohi a battle, the same way Operation Barbarossa is sometimes called a battle, so it takes a month.

    Kressenbrunn takes several days in reality, it's just that most of thet time is sitting around the camp, probably skirmishing or trying to find another ford. Again, this entire period would probably be called a battle if it happened in WW1.

    Marchfeld takes 12-18 hours, but you could arguably count siege of Laa as a part of it, and that extends it to several days.

    Rozgony happen inside of a week or two if you count all the sieges and counter-sieges.

    Conclusion

    So, why is a battle so short? Well, it isn't, it's a question of what we consider a battle. Sure, Mohi happened inside of 24 hours, but there was significant fighting and skirmishing before and after, the main battle was a turning point. And what's more, we know a lot about it because it has been focus of research. Skirmishing like this may well have happened in other battles, and we simply don't know about it.

    If you look at it this way, then even pre-modern battles usually lasted several days, and what we call the battle these days was merely a turning point.

    Thing is, those turning points being the entire thing create neat narratives, and chroniclers at the time cared nothing for accurately representing events, they cared about pushing an agenda that was close enough to the truth to be accepted.

    All that said, though, pre-modern battles are shorter still, taking only a few weeks, while battles like Verdun could take months. This is partly a function of soldiers available, and partly again what we consider a battle. After all, studying Verdun would be a tall order if it was represented as Battles of Verdun number 1 to 300.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Are there any sources for Medieval Arming Sword and Shield/buckler other than I.33?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Maquise View Post
    Are there any sources for Medieval Arming Sword and Shield/buckler other than I.33?
    Define what you mean by medieval.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Define what you mean by medieval.
    Basically, anything predating the Bolognese side sword sources.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Maquise View Post
    Are there any sources for Medieval Arming Sword and Shield/buckler other than I.33?
    Sort of. Nothing as extensive or comprehensive as Bolognese or I.33, but there are some for sword or sword and buckler.

    Herny de Sainct Didier is the weird one out, and little known, though he is more of a contemporary of Bolognese, rather than a precursor.

    Fiore does show you some limited amount of plays with a single handed sword - it is mostly meant for a shorter, Italian-style longsword held in one hand and has no shield, but it is there.

    The main source for this is messer techniques. Messers varied greatly in length, and some of them were basically arming swords with different furniture, so you can pretty much use any technique for them that doesn't explicitly require a nagel. Hans Talhoffer and Paulus Kal have them, as does Ms3227a/Dobringer.

    As for sword and shield, well, Bolognese is pretty much the first source to talk about them at all, unless you count Vegetius.
    Last edited by Martin Greywolf; 2019-10-23 at 10:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Is there a resource that compiles all of the various designs for hilts that existed in the Middle Ages/Renaissance? Something someone could refer to if they wanted to make a historical piece and see what all the options were?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Maquise View Post
    Is there a resource that compiles all of the various designs for hilts that existed in the Middle Ages/Renaissance? Something someone could refer to if they wanted to make a historical piece and see what all the options were?
    First, straight answer to the question is, to my knowledge, no. You have Petersen and Oakeshott typologies which do include hilts, and Zakovsky for messers and dussacks, but that is only for medieval and early renaissance and leaves a lot of stuff out.

    Second point is, this is a terrible way to make a historical replica. Thing is, swords were made for and by people who knew in what context they were used, with what gloves and what styles, and since they were all hand made, they were often tailored to the individual*. That means you can't make a Frankensword and call it historical - guard from Italy, blade from Germany and pommel from England do not a proper sword make. Even same time and place can produce two swords that were meant to be very different.

    Granted, you will be hell of a lot closer to something real than a random bit of sword-like object from ebay, but still. If you are looking to get a sword for reenactment, realistic-ish fantasy or some such, this can be acceptable, but if you're looking to do academic-grade research with it, not so much.



    * This also means that making any catalog like you want is basically an excercise in making a full database of all hilts found, ever, since even a single swordsmith would change particulars of his hilts as he went on.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    So... I was wondering about the viking expansion...

    What allowed vikings to be so successful conquering so much land?

    By that, I mean... What was it that made them so difficult to deal with. What sort.of tactics or weapons?

    And what did Alfred The Great (and whoever else succeed in defending against them) do to finally beat them (at least to the point where a treaty was possible)?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    So... I was wondering about the viking expansion...

    What allowed vikings to be so successful conquering so much land?

    By that, I mean... What was it that made them so difficult to deal with. What sort.of tactics or weapons?

    And what did Alfred The Great (and whoever else succeed in defending against them) do to finally beat them (at least to the point where a treaty was possible)?
    They did a less conquering than they did raiding. The short version is that they had a huge mobility advantage via ocean and river, and they were often attacking locations that weren't fortified or militarized. They could travel faster than word of their location might be able to.

    The solution was quite often to build fortified locations where the locals could bring their valuable stuff and themselves and wait out the raids.

    But raiding also declined because trade was often more lucrative, and places like Dublin weren't conquest as much as they were building trade outposts.

    And there's the eventual adoption of common religion, which we can't get much into here.


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    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-11-10 at 04:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    A lot of what Alfred did was establish a network of towns as strong-poinbts across the country to enable a coordinated response. (Pre-Alfred settlemens were much more spread out, rather than concentrated in tows and villages.)

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    So... I was wondering about the viking expansion...

    What allowed vikings to be so successful conquering so much land?

    By that, I mean... What was it that made them so difficult to deal with. What sort.of tactics or weapons?

    And what did Alfred The Great (and whoever else succeed in defending against them) do to finally beat them (at least to the point where a treaty was possible)?
    Well, as far as I'm aware the vikings didn't really conquer all that much. They certainly explored a lot, and got into just about every corner of the globe they reasonably could. But their major attempts to actually conquer territory in France and Italy were beaten back. Now the Normans, which descended from viking raiders who were given territory in France (but didn't strictly speaking conquer it) did get footholds. But the actual lands the Scandinavian true vikings conquered are limited to the Rus (which is admittedly, impressively large), Greenland, Iceland, and parts of Scotland and Ireland, briefly England, and scattered settlements around the Europe's coast. But most notably with these lands that they conquered they faced down places that were less technologically adept and with a less unified government that could be overcome.

    This is best seen and examined with the information we have on the invasion of England. The Scandinavians certainly gained a lot of territory fairly quickly. But a large part of that was because the Heptarchy were constantly fighting each other. It is not a surprise that when unifying figures like Alfred showed up, they were able to stop the viking expansion, and even push it back.

    Mind you we can then get to actual successful conquerors like Cnut. Cnut was able to get warriors from all across the Scandinavian lands agree to fight for him (which is impressive in his own right). He basically landed in the south of England when no one thought he'd be (because of the superiority in ship based maneuverability as Max_Killjoy points out). Makes a B line to London before the English king can mount a real defense. Cnut fails to take the city (vikings weren't great at sieges). And when the king does get his army in order, Cnut and King Edmund have several indecisive battles, with Edmund winning a fair few. Before Cnut just gets one of the notable English lords to betray Edmund and switch sides mid battle. And that's how he won.

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

    As many above have pointed out, Viking success wasn’t really a weapons and tactics thing. Since people have already mentioned the whole “they succeeded most where governance was fractured and weak”, we can look at why they would be successful in the type of raids they fought - which likely has something to do with the game you’re portraying them in.

    1st, it wasn’t uber weapons. Iron was not plentiful in Denmark or Scandinavia in general at the time - hence the iconic axe, the less iconic but exceedingly common spear, and massive shields. Axe and spear heads need less iron and less fine smithing than swords, and chain mail was hardly common. Against a local militia they might have some overmatch, but against an assembled host it is unlikely there would have been much difference between the weapons on either side.

    What should be noted about weapons is this: the Vikings we’re famous in a period where missile weapons and cavalry were notably under-developed. Which meant that is mostly came down to a pair of shield walls ramming into each other.

    Speaking of tactics, that’s it. That’s the tactic. You get your mass of men to form a line of overlapping shields, and you either pick a good piece of ground to stand on or you advance on the enemy. Then the battering begins, and if you have the numbers hopefully you can shove harder or extend your wall around theirs.

    So then why the hell were the terrors of early England, parts of France, and so forth? Mostly overmatch against the forces they were fighting when raiding.

    Imagine a few boatloads of Vikings meet the militia and a handful of the local lords retainers, who are all he could summon in time to respond. The Vikings may have a few more professionally equipped men, but they have a vital advantage beyond that: every one of them is at least familiar with the fight and is a volunteer of sorts. So a bunch of motivated men with some experience smash into a bunch of less-motivated militia with minimal experience. In a battle where there is no room for cleverness, just face-to-face butchery where whoever keeps the best wall and doesn’t run, he wins.

    Then, assuming a success, a bunch of raiders flush on victory storm through a settlement where sporadic spots of individual resistance get swamped under by a weight of men as the area burns.

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

    I read once - in an actual book - that the vikings were almost as tall as people are today (actually, as tall as people at the time the book was printed, in the late 70's). I can't vouch for this, but it was a genuine text book at school, not some random internet source.

    But if true, I'd say the viking quite simply were bigger and stronger, and that's where most of the succes comes from.

    That's 100% opinion. No actual fact attached, except that book. But if you've ever been in a fight with a larger opponent, you know that counts for .... rather a great deal.

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

    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    I know that vikings raided much more than they conquered, but I asked these questions because (I thought) they still conquered a lot of lands (wasn't there a bunch of dane kings in England at one point?) and were enough of a threat that even after winning a major battle, Alfred prefered to give them lands than to keep fighting them, from what I could find.

    The bit about their mobility really makes sense. I made a little more research since, and apparently, one thing Alfred did was realize how important having a naval force was in fighting them, so he built one.

    Anyway, thanks again for your replies. :)
    Last edited by Lemmy; 2019-11-11 at 08:23 AM.

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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
    I read once - in an actual book - that the vikings were almost as tall as people are today (actually, as tall as people at the time the book was printed, in the late 70's). I can't vouch for this, but it was a genuine text book at school, not some random internet source.

    But if true, I'd say the viking quite simply were bigger and stronger, and that's where most of the succes comes from.

    That's 100% opinion. No actual fact attached, except that book. But if you've ever been in a fight with a larger opponent, you know that counts for .... rather a great deal.
    A quick google search reveals that a sample of 500 viking age burials reveals an average male height of 5'6". Modern Swedish men average just under 5'10. Not a huge difference, but notable.

    I vaguely recall something from college that led me to believe that hunter-gatherers were generally taller than their farming neighbors. Wish I could recall the source.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    The bit about their mobility really makes sense. I made a little more research since, and apparently, one thing Alfred did was realize how importanty having a naval force was in fighting them, so he built one.
    I did some research on this before and one recovered great longship of 60-70 crew had an estimated top speed of 17kts. Translated into practical terms, from it being visible on the horizon from the shore (~2.5 nautical miles), the vikings could have boots on the ground in about 9 minutes - not a good day to be a monk or a poorly defended village.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by redwizard007 View Post
    A quick google search reveals that a sample of 500 viking age burials reveals an average male height of 5'6". Modern Swedish men average just under 5'10. Not a huge difference, but notable.

    I vaguely recall something from college that led me to believe that hunter-gatherers were generally taller than their farming neighbors. Wish I could recall the source.
    That's another good question. Was there ever a time where physical strength had a defining impact in a large battla? I mean specific cases, rather than a general statement.

    It sounds like something that must have happened at some point in history, but for the life of me, I can't remember ever being taught of such an occurence... I'm guessing because advantage in human physical strength tends to be quickly dwarfed by advantage in tactics, coordination, resources, technology and numbers (and perhaps morale).

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    I did some research on this before and one recovered great longship of 60-70 crew had an estimated top speed of 17kts. Translated into practical terms, from it being visible on the horizon from the shore (~2.5 nautical miles), the vikings could have boots on the ground in about 9 minutes - not a good day to be a monk or a poorly defended village.
    That's impressive. Even st 1/3 that speed, that's not a lot of time to mount a defense (especially since monasteries and small villages probably didn't have someone watching the ocean for raiders 24/7).
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by redwizard007 View Post
    A quick google search reveals that a sample of 500 viking age burials reveals an average male height of 5'6". Modern Swedish men average just under 5'10. Not a huge difference, but notable.

    I vaguely recall something from college that led me to believe that hunter-gatherers were generally taller than their farming neighbors. Wish I could recall the source.
    I've read conflicting studies on how much the amount of protein and other nutrients in the diet of a population have a notable influence on average height, but in some populations it might be as much as 65% heritable and 35% environmental.

    But, "common knowledge" about height, and thus nutrition and standards of living, might well be wrong -- https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0902090552.htm
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    I know that vikings raided much more than they conquered, but I asked these questions because (I thought) they still conquered a lot of lands (wasn't there a bunch of dane kings in England at one point?) and were enough of a threat that even after winning a major battle, Alfred prefered to give them lands than to keep fighting them, from what I could find.

    The bit about their mobility really makes sense. I made a little more research since, and apparently, one thing Alfred did was realize how important having a naval force was in fighting them, so he built one.

    Anyway, thanks again for your replies. :)
    The first Danish king of England would be the aforementioned Cnut. Now, one-hundred years prior there was land conquered during the Great Heathen Army's invasion that was stopped by Alfred. This created the Danelaw which basically split modern day England in two between those ruled by Danes and those who were ruled by the Anglo-Saxons. But even looking at the accounts of the Great Heathen Army, and the pattern is pretty clear. The vikings consolidated their forces and tried to fight individual kingdoms in the Heptarchy most of which were also at war with each other, or had been at war with each other previously. They attacked positions where the king's armies were not. They accepted bribes to go away, and then repeatedly ignored their own agreements to continue to raid and plunder. It seems to be the constant raiding and avoiding battle that did more for them in their conquest than anything else. After a year of raiding in which the Northumbrian king seemed unable to halt them or even meet them in battle, the Northumbrian king was deposed, not by vikings, but by other Northumbrians. The vikings then appointed puppet kings which set up even larger payments for the vikings. Mercia just continuously payed them off to leave, during which time the vikings again refused to engage in decisive battle but did capture several important cities. East Anglia, however, they straight up conquered. No question of that.

    Anyway the army then split and tried to expand in two different directions. Which is when we get Alfred defeating Guthrum. As to why Guthrum was given a position of prominence even after defeat. That was kind of a thing at the time. Going back to the description of the brutality of shield wall warfare, it is hard to completely defeat an enemy to the point they have nothing left to throw at you. It is much easier to simply put them in a corner and then offer them terms they will agree to without fighting.

    This happened with Cnut actually. When Cnut defeated Edmund, he didn't actually have him captured and killed. He just defeated Edmund's army in the battle in such a way that Edmund knew he did not have the force to really continue a successful defense of his lands. So they went to the negotiating table, Edmund remained king for the rest of his life and Cnut became his heir. It just so happened that Edmund died a week later, possibly from wounds in battle, possibly because someone. Not naming any names -Cnut- had him murdered.

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

    I always found it kinda bizarre how so many kingdoms kept bribing the danes to leave when it clearly did nothing but encourage more danes to invade in hopes of getting the same deal.
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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 always found it kinda bizarre how so many kingdoms kept bribing the danes to leave when it clearly did nothing but encourage more danes to invade in hopes of getting the same deal.
    Once you've lived through the horrors of war, most people will do almost anything not to see war again, even if all you're doing is putting it off for a short time. Treading carefully because of board rules, see Appeasement.

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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
    Once you've lived through the horrors of war, most people will do almost anything not to see war again, even if all you're doing is putting it off for a short time. Treading carefully because of board rules, see Appeasement.
    I suppose a temporary solution is better than no solution.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmy View Post
    Was there ever a time where physical strength had a defining impact in a large battla? I mean specific cases, rather than a general statement.
    Mike Tyson vs .. anyone. I'm deliberately dodging the 'large battle' detail =)

    Mike Tyson is actually not a perfect example, because .. while definitely strong, he wasn't tall, and that's the other big factor. But the fact remains that speaking generally, reach and power heavily impacts* any contact sport, and that has to mean it impacts any instance of 1v1 - also in larger confrontations.

    Again: 100% opinion.

    *Not discounting skill. And skill can beat both reach and power** - but reach and power is a much more common occurence than skill.
    ** Going out on a limb here, I'm going to guess skill outweighs reach and power in asian martial arts?! But the vikings met very few ninjas, so ... there's that.

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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 always found it kinda bizarre how so many kingdoms kept bribing the danes to leave when it clearly did nothing but encourage more danes to invade in hopes of getting the same deal.
    Well here’s the thing. It actually worked at its intended purpose quite a few times. Alfred paid the Danegeld, to get them to go away. And they did. It was relatively rare that the payment did absolutely nothing, the only time I can think of where the Vikings ignored the agreement completely was the Great Heathen Army. Probably because that was supposed to be a conquering army and not just raids (though I’m certain there are other examples elsewhere). But usually, pay a raider to go away and they’ll likely say “yeah this money should last me a couple years. See you in three!”

    The smart kings took that time to fortify and come up with tactics to defend against them. Alfred wasn’t the first to do that. He was just the most successful. Because most others thought in terms of “make this city better fortified” or “we need more elite fighters, quick, train them!”

    Alfred was the one who realized that this wouldn’t do anything if the Vikings just maneuvered around the forts and avoided the army. So he instead created a network of reinforcing forts and a signaling system to create faster response times and a better navy to take away their advantages. And that’s why he gets called the Great while kings who were less successful in their preparations got nicknamed “the Unready” or “the Martyr.”
    Last edited by Dienekes; 2019-11-11 at 05:42 PM.

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

    I suspect that size and strength matters most in unarmed combat, reason being it's comparatively difficult to severely injure or incapacitate a much larger human being with your bare hands. Conversely a small man can still run a large man right through with a spear, fracture their skull with a mace or shiv their lungs with a dagger. Perhaps reach becomes more an issue than raw strength.
    Re: 100 Things to Beware of that Every DM Should Know

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    I suspect that size and strength matters most in unarmed combat, reason being it's comparatively difficult to severely injure or incapacitate a much larger human being with your bare hands. Conversely a small man can still run a large man right through with a spear, fracture their skull with a mace or shiv their lungs with a dagger. Perhaps reach becomes more an issue than raw strength.
    So, I do swordsmanship. I’m not good. But the general rule of thumb in unarmored swordfighting, is skill is paramount. Skill trumps everything. But reach and strength are really useful. I am not an agile guy, but I am big and strong. I have completely blown through a fair few failed attempts to parry me. Now, if these attempts to parry me were performed slightly better this wouldn’t have happened. Which is part of the skill trumps everything statement. But given two swordsmen, both equal skill one stronger than the other, I’d bet on the stronger guy. One weapon master (I’m pretty sure Vadi but I need to check), just straight says stronger people have the advantage.

    When you get wrapped in armor, if anything strength becomes more important as grappling becomes more useful.

    Though honestly, I think in pitched combat the key attributes are more often endurance, discipline, and morale.

    Oh and numbers. Numbers means a lot.

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