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Jason Redfield





Joined: 28 Jan 2010

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PostPosted: Thu 28 Jan, 2010 2:37 pm    Post subject: Modern Weapons In a Period Setting?         Reply with quote

First of all, this topic is going to seem a bit (OK, maybe more than a bit) of the wall, but bear with me, please.

I was inspired by the Modern Materials Concerning Armor thread, and so I got to thinking about how modern melee/improvised weapons would perform on a medieval battlefield. The same goes for armor. Obviously they won't be as up to the task as their purpose-built counterparts, but it's interesting to think on.

Feel free to list any modern melee or improvised weapon (or armor) and discuss its merits. Try to stay away from guns, explosives, vehicles, etc.

For instance, to start it off -- a baseball bat. How would it perform? Would a metal or wooden bat be preferable for combat?

Hopefully this thread isn't too weird.
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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Thu 28 Jan, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Too weird, maybe, but what the heck. Wink

SCA combat, the only form I'm currently familiar with, is essentially combat with (skinny) baseball bats. In fact, it's the easiest way I have of explaining what I do on the weekends to my coworkers. "It's kinda like beating the h*** out of my closest friends with a baseball bat, then sitting around a campfire with a cold beverage and telling tall tales about how good I did."

To your answer question, not very effective against full 14th century armour. I believe the question of using a wood or aluminum baseball bat is in material. You could get lucky and crush a major joint, but most likely you'll only give your opponent a nasty bruise while he (she) skewers you with a proper longsword thrust to the armpit.

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Jason Redfield





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PostPosted: Thu 28 Jan, 2010 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Hrouda wrote:
Too weird, maybe, but what the heck. Wink

SCA combat, the only form I'm currently familiar with, is essentially combat with (skinny) baseball bats. In fact, it's the easiest way I have of explaining what I do on the weekends to my coworkers. "It's kinda like beating the h*** out of my closest friends with a baseball bat, then sitting around a campfire with a cold beverage and telling tall tales about how good I did."

To your answer question, not very effective against full 14th century armour. I believe the question of using a wood or aluminum baseball bat is in material. You could get lucky and crush a major joint, but most likely you'll only give your opponent a nasty bruise while he (she) skewers you with a proper longsword thrust to the armpit.


I see. Thanks for the feedback.
If I HAD to go with a baseball bat, I'd probably go with one of these: http://www.botachtactical.com/costbrsm.html


What about riot gear, including a riot shield?
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 28 Jan, 2010 7:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Being that this site is tagged as being a "resource for historic arms and armour collectors", I must confess that this topic has absolutely no interest to me. I understand where you're coming from, though, in that I think you're trying to perhaps get insight into combat of old by contrasting it with know materials to us today. At least that is what I think you're doing. Happy
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Jason Redfield





Joined: 28 Jan 2010

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PostPosted: Thu 28 Jan, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Being that this site is tagged as being a "resource for historic arms and armour collectors", I must confess that this topic has absolutely no interest to me. I understand where you're coming from, though, in that I think you're trying to perhaps get insight into combat of old by contrasting it with know materials to us today. At least that is what I think you're doing. Happy


Yes, I was hesitant to post this at first, but curiosity won out. I can understand your lack of interest -- this really is a "niche topic". And you're more or less correct, that's part of my intention. I was really inspired by that "Armour and modern materials" thread that I read recently, as well.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2010 12:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Redfield wrote:

What about riot gear, including a riot shield?


I think it has a similar problem. It's designed for riots, not medieval warfare. A vest designed to stop a switchblade isn't going to help much against a longsword. A shield designed to stop rocks is going to shatter under a mace or cloven in two by an axe. And you're not going to do a whole lot of damage with batons against medieval armour.

If I were to equip myself with modern gear to face off knights I would probably go with something like a kevlar military flak/shrapnel jacket. That's designed to withstand sharp objects a lot more dangerous than a switchblade. Probably titanium SCA armour for the other body parts. For weapons, a modern compound bow and a sword. I can't think of anything that that is not a gun that would be more effective on a medieval battlefield than modern reproductions of medieval weapons. With the high quality of modern steel, CNC machines and modern heat treatment they are better than the real medieval swords.
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Lukasz Papaj




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2010 2:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would add one caveat to above: IF "we" got the important things in building current "reproductions" right.

As was stated time and time again on these forums we cannot reproduce all factors on medieval battlefield now, starting with actually killing humans on opposite side. Then there are factors outside battlefield, like maintenance and logistics, economy factors etc. etc. Without testing in proper environment, tools will be skewed into direction set by "rules". As in "designed to cut pool noodles not skewer people"

One day maybe we could do a "MMORPG" simulation of medieval world in which we would be able to immerse ourselves and check things out, but technology is yet not advanced enough to to do that ( I mean something along the lines of full sensory sim, along lines of "The Thirteenth Floor").

As for guns, well guns need ammo and spare parts. So they might help in first battle, but in second, you better learn native skills Happy

Also, remember psychology. City dwellers do not kill their food. In rural areas that might be the case, still that is detached from killing man in cold blood. We incarcerate people that do that. Studies made during WWII shown that only 2% of combatants engaged enemy with actual intent to kill. In Vietnam IIRC a million rounds were spent per one confirmed VC kill. Mostly it's our social taboos that prevent harming others - same study shown that in "Hitler Jugend" divisions the percentage of killers was much higher - due their training that was directed at breaking those taboos. In current military ops this thing is addressed by creating technology layer between soldier and "enemy" - they are trained to see targets not people that they are.

It's your mind that is the most dangerous weapon. Rest are just tools, extensions.
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2010 3:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Titanium is not tougher than steel. It is stronger for weight than steel, but a lot lighter by volume. This means that a titanium breastplate of the same thickness as steel will actually be weaker, not stronger. This might be usefull for some parts of an armour, but not the bits you really want to be strong.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2010 3:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nat Lamb wrote:
Titanium is not tougher than steel. It is stronger for weight than steel.


I know. I was thinking titanium arms, legs and a helmet, to make things lighter. Make it a little thicker that steel so it's equally strong and you save on weight. For a helmet I'd go with a hybrid. Something medieval style titanium helmet with visor but with much larger visor slits for visibility, covered with bullet resistant plexi.
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Jason Redfield





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PostPosted: Fri 29 Jan, 2010 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Jason Redfield wrote:

What about riot gear, including a riot shield?


I think it has a similar problem. It's designed for riots, not medieval warfare. A vest designed to stop a switchblade isn't going to help much against a longsword. A shield designed to stop rocks is going to shatter under a mace or cloven in two by an axe. And you're not going to do a whole lot of damage with batons against medieval armour.

If I were to equip myself with modern gear to face off knights I would probably go with something like a kevlar military flak/shrapnel jacket. That's designed to withstand sharp objects a lot more dangerous than a switchblade. Probably titanium SCA armour for the other body parts. For weapons, a modern compound bow and a sword. I can't think of anything that that is not a gun that would be more effective on a medieval battlefield than modern reproductions of medieval weapons. With the high quality of modern steel, CNC machines and modern heat treatment they are better than the real medieval swords.


Not sure how a flak jacket would perform against medieval weaponry. I know standard bullet-resistant Kevlar vests often can't even stop knife attacks -- I shudder to think how it would perform against a longsword.

I think a riot shield would hold up pretty well. Lexan is tougher than modern steel if I remember correctly, and I've heard stories about a sheet of it being struck roughly 50 times with a fire axe/sledgehammer before finally starting to show fractures.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 12:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ice climbing pick...thing. That's bound to cause some hurt, especially since I'm under the impression most people on a high to late medieval battlefield were not armored at all, save for aketon and helmet.

M.

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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that modern materials and design would help a lot more with armour than it would with weapons.

A sword is the most efficient pre-explosive close combat weapon, and modern made swords are not substantially different than medieval swords. Perhaps I'd end up preferring a sabre or cutlass to a double-edged sword though.

But in armour, I think that especially modern aramid-epoxy compounds would be really useful. Such an armour would need replacement after use, but would also offer better protection at a lighter weight, I think.
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Joel Minturn





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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 4:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For modern weapons?
I would grab a big framing hammer for starters. I think they would make a decent war hammer.
http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/photo/999.html I mean that one even has a nail pulling end to it Big Grin Along those same lines a hatchet or camp axe might be useful, I would think that any of the larger axes would be too heavy for fighting.

Other than that. I think a nice tactical folding knife (or switchblade) would be great. Yeah it's not a battle field weapon but would be just practical to have and useful for self defense.
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Off-the-wall topic, but I will bite. Here is a few I would add to my arsenal that have medieval contemporaries:



Bill Hook



Woodsman's Pal



Fire Axe



Petzl Ice Hammer

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Redfield wrote:

Not sure how a flak jacket would perform against medieval weaponry. I know standard bullet-resistant Kevlar vests often can't even stop knife attacks -- I shudder to think how it would perform against a longsword.


I know. The Dutch police often use stab vests alongside bulletproof vests. Bullets really are blunt weapons which is why bulletproof vests aren't that good against stabbing and slicing.

I don't know exactly what you mean by flak jacket. I was talking about the stuff currently used in Iraq. It's like a kevlar bulletproof vest with ceramic plates added. It protects against bullets as well as sharp shrapnel from explosives.

Hmm... writing that out made me realise that it's really just a Coat of Plates made of modern materials :-)
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Joshua R




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 10:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry about the necro, but here goes.

Lukasz Papaj wrote:
Also, remember psychology. City dwellers do not kill their food. In rural areas that might be the case, still that is detached from killing man in cold blood. We incarcerate people that do that. Studies made during WWII shown that only 2% of combatants engaged enemy with actual intent to kill. In Vietnam IIRC a million rounds were spent per one confirmed VC kill. Mostly it's our social taboos that prevent harming others - same study shown that in "Hitler Jugend" divisions the percentage of killers was much higher - due their training that was directed at breaking those taboos. In current military ops this thing is addressed by creating technology layer between soldier and "enemy" - they are trained to see targets not people that they are.


That's an awfully selective choice of statistics. In the First World War, (and I'm having a hard time finding the statistics, but they're out there, so I'm pulling this from my memory) the American GI fired about 12-15,000 rounds for every casualty inflicted on the enemy. In the Second World War, it jumped to 50,000. There were apparently some statistics put out in 2004 or 2005 that the military was expending 250,000 rounds for every insurgent killed. Part of the reason for these variations is likely due to the importance and variation of marksmanship training and an increasingly urbanized society accompanied by a decreasing amount of the population that is raised with firearms or have regular training with them.

In any case, prior to the First World War, marksmanship training emphasized accuracy at extreme long range. In the Second World War, the emphasis changed to one of, literally, firing three rounds at anything that looks suspicious. Following the Second World War, before SALVO really caught on, there was a backlash against the increasing ammunition wastage and what was probably the best (and most demanding) marksmanship training ever used in US military history was adopted, featuring targets at unknown ranges, shot at under the stress of a timer, in field positions and conditions... a passing score was a score of 48%. To shoot Marksman was 50%. Expert was 60 or 65%. Of course, along came Vietnam and the Draft and the general issue of the select-fire M16 (from the generally semi-automatic-only M1 Garand and Carbine and M14), and things went downhill from there. Now, of course, we have an all-volunteer military with an increasing emphasis on marksmanship and the general issue of optical weapon sights, things are starting to swing the other way. That being said, most of the guys I know who are of the professional-face-shooting variety believe (with good reason) that the modern American warfighter is still being cheated out of an adequate marksmanship training program. Indeed, we still see a large number of American soldiers who think that using an M4 carbine as an M249 SAW, only without any sort of fire discipline, is a good idea. (There was, in fact, an incident in the past two years or so that led to an investigation of the "deficiencies" of the M4 Carbine because a number of the carbines catastrophically failed at an outpost in Afghanistan... as a result of their poorly-trained operators performing magazine dumps after the plastic handguard because uncomfortable to hold and the barrels began to melt and sag. There was some complaining that USSOCOM's M4 Carbines, which use a heavier barrel contour, would have worked better, but testing found that it took about eight minutes of constant full auto-fire to heat the US Army M4 barrels to the point that they started to sag and something like twelve for the USSOCOM versions. In any case, the culprit was operator headspace error.)

The second statistic is also dated, as more recently surveys have shown an increasing number of American servicemen and -women have and are willing to shoot with the intent to kill. There was actually a book written on the subject, recently, by a retired US Army General, who is disturbed by what he perceives as the increasingly militant nature of American society.

" For Augustus, and after him Tiberius, more interested in establishing and increasing their own power than in promoting the public good, began to disarm the Roman people (in order to make them more passive under their tyranny).... "
-N. Machiavelli, The Art of War
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Dave Leppo




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a modern Compound bow against a long bow would have a power and accuracy advantage.
-Dave
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 1:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This modern hammer/hatchet could be useful against plate armor, though no better than a medieval war hammer or short poll-axe


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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 1:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very little modern would be better than a period purpose built weapon although a modern reproduction like an Albion would probably be of better quality of materials and uniform hardness than any but the very best period weapons discounting some subtle differences we may not understand.

Using modern tools as expedient weapons of opportunity in a mind experiment is interesting but most tools would be improperly balance for use as weapons i.e. a wood cutting axe being too heavy for agile use for example.

The baseball bat mentioned early on in this Topic is basically just a wooden club.

A sledge hammer might destroy armour better than a period mace but much too heavy to be used for more than one overcommitted blow.

What else ? A rebar as a short too heavy and awkward staff ? WTF?! Wink Cool

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