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Lou Weaver




Location: amelia island, florida
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 11:00 am    Post subject: combat in low gravity         Reply with quote

how many of us interested in swords and pre firearms warfare became enamoured of the works of edgar rice burroughs, kenneth bulmer ( alan burt akers ) h. beam piper, john norman, tolkien, and worthy others? my curiosity concerns the lower gravity on barsoom , kregen, ect., and how that would affect a terran's fighting ability in the real world. let us take mars for example.( not a good candidate for a viable biosphere but s. m. stirling wrote a good book about it in The courts of the crimson kings.) at .379g a 100 kilo (202.5 pound ) man would weigh only 37.9 kilos (83.5695 pounds ) and if in reasonable physical shape could lift over his head his own body weight on terra then on mars that would be 263.85224 kilos (581.7942 pounds ) ! a 1.8 kilo ( 3.969 pound ) sword would only weigh .6822 kilos ( 1.504251 pounds ) . this is very nice for the swordsman but, what about the swords inertial mass? astronauts can manipulate quite heavy objects in microgravity but once you get it moving the mass is still there and it will squash you. john cater performs a power slash with a large thark sized blade the inertial mass is going to cause him to compensate, and thus his or any other terran is going to have to adgust his fighting tecniques to these exotic conditions. i may not be asking the question correctly so perhaps someone knowledgable in phisics and swordsmanship could answer for me. Question i have been kindly reminded since posting this topic about the diferences between mass as measured in kilograms,newtons the unit of force in the metric system and weight, the force of gravity acting on a body, equal to the mass multiplied by acceleration of gravity! wheehw! i did not wish to complicate the subject to much. Eek!
'...you know best the promptings of yor own heart. that i shall need your sword i have little doubt, but accept from john carter upon his sacred honor the assurance that he will never call upon you to draw this sword other than in the cause of truth, justice and righteousness.'


Last edited by Lou Weaver on Wed 12 Nov, 2008 4:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting question Happy

Honestly I don't think the change would be drastic at all. In fact the most noticeable thing to change would be footwork, not so much swordwork. You'd be able to jump higher and over longer distances in low gravity, perhaps you'd even do so unintentionally with some adverse consequences...

The weapons are accelerated very quickly by the handler, and stopped likewise. Further, the motions are more rotations than translations. Gravity has a marginal influence on that, thus you don't cut by just letting the weapon fall, it would be too slow even in our gravity field. You have to use your muscles to impart energy to the sword, that will later be dissipated damaging the target, and both of these phases are largely unaffected by the gravity field. You can test that by laying on your back and throwing a few cuts towards the sky: it works about as well... It's not even sure that you'd enjoy an improved stamina, because you still have to move the mass (yours and the sword's) around and not just hold it static where it is.

A few extended stances would feel easier though. Spanish rapier for example would be less tiresome for the arm Happy

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Vincent
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Glennan Carnie




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Being pedantic, mass is measured in kilograms. Weight is a force, and therefore measured in Newtons.
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Joel Minturn





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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok minor engineering point. The mass of the sword/weapon won't change due to low gravity, but its weight will. A sword with a mass of 1.8kg will have a mass of 1.8kg on mars but its weight will decrease down to 6.69124181N (1.504251 lb). Weight and mass are two seperate things.
ahh those intro classes coming back to haunt me Razz

But low gravity would have an effect on close combat. The force holding the attacker in place, same goes for the defender. So hitting someone with a sword may cause both parties to move and not much damage to occure. I would think that in general one would get less force from their blows, they couldn't put their weight behind it as it were. depending on the weapon and how low the grav was it may be that even swinging the weapon would cause the attacker to move in relation to the defender.

Of course throws would be more spectacular. It would be much easier to grab an incoming weapon and toss the attacker as they weight less.

and remeber with all low grav combat "The gate is down" Big Grin
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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It would be similar - I think - to fighting on ice, or underwater. Your "base" or connection from your core to the ground, would be reduced to some degree through your lower apparent bodyweight.

On the other hand, you could do some pretty "sick" flips and aerial kicks.
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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 10:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The subject has me considering how well bullets work in a no oxygen and no atmosphere environment. I know that rockets have to carry their own oxygen into outerspace to mix with the fuel. I once asked this question in a physics class. I was told you can have an explosion in outerspace but no sustained fire. It might turn out that medieval weapons might be the best option in a moon-battle.
No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Nov, 2008 10:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
The subject has me considering how well bullets work in a no oxygen and no atmosphere environment. I know that rockets have to carry their own oxygen into outerspace to mix with the fuel. I once asked this question in a physics class. I was told you can have an explosion in outerspace but no sustained fire. It might turn out that medieval weapons might be the best option in a moon-battle.


Well, if there is oxygen in the cartridge or the chemical makeup of the propellant has oxygen released on combustion ?

Or maybe your question is external ballistics on the projectile assuming the cartridge will still work in a vacuum ?

Gravity would still pull the bullet down but the bullet wouldn't lose velocity due to air resistance and retain muzzle velocity until impact.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Kjell Magnusson




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Nov, 2008 2:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
The subject has me considering how well bullets work in a no oxygen and no atmosphere environment. I know that rockets have to carry their own oxygen into outerspace to mix with the fuel. I once asked this question in a physics class. I was told you can have an explosion in outerspace but no sustained fire. It might turn out that medieval weapons might be the best option in a moon-battle.


Gunpowder, and most other explosives as well, either has their oxidiser already mixed in (for blackpowder this is the saltpetre, for example), or work without an oxidiser (instead of burning, they can work simply by decomposition). This is one of the things which allow these substances to react so violently compared to things which are simply burning, as we don't have to wait for the oxygen to travel to where it's needed. As such, they will work just as well in vacuum as in our atmosphere.
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
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PostPosted: Thu 13 Nov, 2008 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for your insight guys on the combustion matter.
No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201
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www.poconogym.com
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Nov, 2008 11:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
It might turn out that medieval weapons might be the best option in a moon-battle.


Definitely not. No conceivable technological development or known environment could prompt a return to swords for serious combat. That's strictly fictional, one of the silliest things about Star Trek and such.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Nov, 2008 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Quote:
It might turn out that medieval weapons might be the best option in a moon-battle.


Definitely not. No conceivable technological development or known environment could prompt a return to swords for serious combat. That's strictly fictional, one of the silliest things about Star Trek and such.


Agreed. Romantic ideology just gets you killed.

M.

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Adam S.





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PostPosted: Fri 14 Nov, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Quote:
It might turn out that medieval weapons might be the best option in a moon-battle.


Definitely not. No conceivable technological development or known environment could prompt a return to swords for serious combat. That's strictly fictional, one of the silliest things about Star Trek and such.


This actually came up in a discussion of space station combat. If for some reason your structure was vulnerable to projectiles, you would have to switch to hand-to-hand and melee weaponry for self defense. I don't know that the issue would translate to a low-grav environment, but it was a good excuse for space swords in the story I'm writing! Wink

Also: In the Manga Battle Angel Alita (Gun Dream in Japan) they have a low-grav/ zero-grav martial art called Panzer-Kunst. One of the principals of the zero-g fighting is that to cause a strike to have any impact you must grapple your opponent, and then strike them, otherwise you just push yourself away from your opponent.

Fun stuff.
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Joel Minturn





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PostPosted: Fri 14 Nov, 2008 5:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Guns should work in space. Like was noted earlier they work in an anaerobic environment on earth and they created the gas needed to propel the bullet. But that does mean the gun is a little rocket. Yeah there is one theory that most of the recoil in a firearm is from the rocket effect of the bullet and gasses leaving the barrel. Which would explain why the recoil from a .338 win mag is sharper and pronounced than the recoil from a 375 HH.

On a side note while things can explode in space with out air to propagate the shock wave the explosions would most likely not be that spectacular or useful.

Would bows be more useful than guns because they don't have the rocket effect?
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Pierre T.




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Nov, 2008 9:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The great majority of rockets and missiles have propellant that are a bit like explosive - ie they contain an oxidizer. Only a few exception - like cruise missiles - require oxygen from the air to go forward. Explosive warheads would require shrapnel to be more effective I imagine.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Nov, 2008 11:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam S. wrote:
Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Quote:
It might turn out that medieval weapons might be the best option in a moon-battle.


Definitely not. No conceivable technological development or known environment could prompt a return to swords for serious combat. That's strictly fictional, one of the silliest things about Star Trek and such.


This actually came up in a discussion of space station combat. If for some reason your structure was vulnerable to projectiles, you would have to switch to hand-to-hand and melee weaponry for self defense. I don't know that the issue would translate to a low-grav environment, but it was a good excuse for space swords in the story I'm writing! Wink

Also: In the Manga Battle Angel Alita (Gun Dream in Japan) they have a low-grav/ zero-grav martial art called Panzer-Kunst. One of the principals of the zero-g fighting is that to cause a strike to have any impact you must grapple your opponent, and then strike them, otherwise you just push yourself away from your opponent.

Fun stuff.


I've had similar discussions as well, but I figured if bullets were out, I'd switch to using those electric line tazers for single combat, though I admit I've never used one in real life. Faling that, some sort of club or tazer stick.

M.

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Adam S.





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PostPosted: Sat 15 Nov, 2008 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Adam S. wrote:


This actually came up in a discussion of space station combat. If for some reason your structure was vulnerable to projectiles, you would have to switch to hand-to-hand and melee weaponry for self defense. I don't know that the issue would translate to a low-grav environment, but it was a good excuse for space swords in the story I'm writing! Wink

Also: In the Manga Battle Angel Alita (Gun Dream in Japan) they have a low-grav/ zero-grav martial art called Panzer-Kunst. One of the principals of the zero-g fighting is that to cause a strike to have any impact you must grapple your opponent, and then strike them, otherwise you just push yourself away from your opponent.

Fun stuff.


I've had similar discussions as well, but I figured if bullets were out, I'd switch to using those electric line tazers for single combat, though I admit I've never used one in real life. Faling that, some sort of club or tazer stick.

M.


Tazers and the like would work, but they have no romance to them. That's why I'm sticking to artistic license and going with swords.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Nov, 2008 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I remember correctly, this site:

http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/index.html

has some extensive discussions about combats in zero gravity and perhaps low gravity. Might be worth checking out.
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Joel Minturn





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PostPosted: Sat 15 Nov, 2008 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think tasers would be too easy to defeat. An enviro suit would defeat a taser or just a couple layers of kevlar or even silk would negate a taser.

I suppose rocket pistols might work, if they can over come the limitations of the gyrojet. The only pistol in history with a minimum range.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Nov, 2008 7:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not trying to demean swords in space. I love that sort of fiction as much as the next guy. The various excuses range from transparent to almost credible. For example, the Green Martians John Carter faced used melee weapons primarily for cultural reasons. They also had rifles that shot exploding bullets scores of miles. Regardless, I don't think all fiction needs attempt realism. Sometimes it'll help the story, sometimes it won't.

As far reason extrapolation from the present goes, I doubt humans will be doing much fighting in future wars. The military wants robot soldiers as soon as they can get them. Everything planned and calculated, executed with mechanical precision. That's about as far from the romantic ideal as possible, but so it goes.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Nov, 2008 9:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:


As far reason extrapolation from the present goes, I doubt humans will be doing much fighting in future wars. The military wants robot soldiers as soon as they can get them. Everything planned and calculated, executed with mechanical precision. That's about as far from the romantic ideal as possible, but so it goes.


Remote wars that would resemble a computer game more than anything else: Equipment and resources attrition being in the initial stages the way it would go, but at some point the humans hiding in the bunkers sitting in their PJs with their X-Box controllers would be endangered when they ran out of bots ! Maybe at that point they would surrender or start fighting the old way with arms in hand and real blood flowing !

On the other extreme one might fight these virtually and save the resources of fighting it for real: The loser would pay some substantial penalty if they lost the war. Sort of reminds me of the old Star Trek episode in the first series where the battles were computer simulations but the real casualties would report to euthanasia centres for termination !

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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