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P. L. Gross




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Feb, 2011 7:54 pm    Post subject: Odd arrow tips         Reply with quote

Was looking at images of jacks, and found this site. http://www.historiclife.com/Essays/Jacks.htm Scroll down to the period image gallery, third row down, far right. Click the picture and tell me what these guys arrows are tipped with? Some kind of cylinders, but for what purpose? Do we have any idea?
From his weapons on the open road no man should step one pace away; you don't know for certain when you're on the open road when you might have need of your spear.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 26 Feb, 2011 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wish I knew the answer to this.

Please link to the photo itself so that others don't have to do a scavenger hunt to get there.

Here you go:

http://www.historiclife.com/images/Research/j...lling2.jpg



 Attachment: 210.17 KB
Schilling2.jpg


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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Sat 26 Feb, 2011 10:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My first impression is that they are messages - scrolls secured to the arrow's shaft.
Perhaps it is even a seal we are seeing represented along the cord on the rightmost one?
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Sat 26 Feb, 2011 11:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In 'The Book of the Firework' a 15thC treatise on fire and powder and its use in war; fire arrow charges were made by stuffing a linen tube with the compound and spiking it on the end of a standard point, light and let go.

There is no smoke visible here, but otherwise they fit the description and my experience pretty well.

That said, they do look like scrolls as Eric suggests

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Last edited by Leo Todeschini on Sun 27 Feb, 2011 12:48 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 26 Feb, 2011 11:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since it's obvious from the drawing that there where firearms being used by the defenders on the walls we can safely assume that the besiegers also have access to gunpowder. Wink

So at a guess it might be incendiaries or gunpowder " arrow grenades " ?

Since there is no sign I can see of the exterior having a fuze or a lit match there might be some primitive form of impact ignition: What this could be I have no idea and certainly no historically known form of impact fuze in this time period but just using my imagination I wonder if one couldn't devise a flint and steel ignition system causing sparks on impact ?

Wild guessing here but if I was trying to design such a thing I might fill a fragile external tube with metal chips mixed in with flints and an inner tube filled with gunpowder, when the whole thing hits something hard it would crush both tubes with the odds of a few sparks being high and gunpowder only needing one spark to explode ?

Maybe more fantasy than history here and maybe a little off on a tangent but I wonder if my idea would have a decent chance of working ?

Alternatively: An A & B chemical where impact would mix the chemicals and produce heat or flame to set off the gunpowder might also work and would such have been know in period ? Maybe something similar to Greek fire set off by contact with water ? Fragile glass vial of water surrounded by the chemical as an impact fuze inside or in front of a black powder charge maybe

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P. L. Gross




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry about not posting the picture, was pretty tired when I did it.
Some sort of gunpowder/incendiary device was my first thought, but didn't know if that were simple fantasy or not.
If the devices in question are explosive tubes, such as Mr. Todeschini mentioned existed, what sort of range would they likely have? This almost looks like it's shaping up into a Mythbusters episode. Happy

-Pete

From his weapons on the open road no man should step one pace away; you don't know for certain when you're on the open road when you might have need of your spear.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In H. D. H. Soar, Secrets of the English war bow, this is captioned "English archers shooting messages into a besieged town."

If they're explosive/incendiary tubes, they could weigh up to about 100g, which would double the weight of the arrow. As a rough approximation, this would halve the range. So, they should still exceed 100 metres in range, but I doubt they'd get to 150m. If the size is exaggerated in the picture, the range wouldn't suffer so much.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 9:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If they are messages why have two guys shooting them at once ? Two different messages or did the bureaucracy even in this period insist on duplicate copies. Wink Razz

There does seem to be a small " something sticking out of the side of the one on the right at least that could be a very short fuze but there is no indication of a flame which may not mean much since a fuze might just glow a bit and not really have a visible flame, but a period artist might show a flame just to show that the fuze is lit. Question

As far as impact devices to set the explosives off that is just totally unsupported speculation by me and just because I can't help imagining ways I could do it but it seems that this idea wasn't exploited until the invention of percussion caps in the early 19th century: It's just that it would have been possible technically if someone had thought of the idea.

In the later flintlock 17th-18th centuries I could imagine a simple mechanical device where a steel plunger could strike a flint on impact since use of flint and steel to ignite powder would have been acquired technology, but here again nobody seems in period to have had this idea also.

But then these ideas would be good for Alternate history or Fantasy/Sci-fi set on a fictional Medieval technology World.

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Romulus Stoica




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:

In the later flintlock 17th-18th centuries I could imagine a simple mechanical device where a steel plunger could strike a flint on impact since use of flint and steel to ignite powder would have been acquired technology, but here again nobody seems in period to have had this idea also.


When I was a kid we use to make some "Bang!" producing devices Razz . We have a custom here in Transylvania, around Easter day, the young boys build fires and make noise to banish the evil spirits (a very old custom, maybe medieval). We have build a sort of makeshift "cannon" using a large pipe, closed at one end and use carbide and water to produce a small quantity of acetylene inside the tube then light it. This wold produce a loud bang. We also made some sort of "bombs" from a paper bag filled with makeshift explosive powder and 2 flints tones, wrapped in duct tape. When this "bomb" hit a hard surface, the flint stones will produce a spark and all the contraption will blow with a bang...
So, it is possible to make an impact explosive device with very low technology.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Romulus Stoica wrote:
Quote:

In the later flintlock 17th-18th centuries I could imagine a simple mechanical device where a steel plunger could strike a flint on impact since use of flint and steel to ignite powder would have been acquired technology, but here again nobody seems in period to have had this idea also.


When I was a kid we use to make some "Bang!" producing devices Razz . We have a custom here in Transylvania, around Easter day, the young boys build fires and make noise to banish the evil spirits (a very old custom, maybe medieval). We have build a sort of makeshift "cannon" using a large pipe, closed at one end and use carbide and water to produce a small quantity of acetylene inside the tube then light it. This wold produce a loud bang. We also made some sort of "bombs" from a paper bag filled with makeshift explosive powder and 2 flints tones, wrapped in duct tape. When this "bomb" hit a hard surface, the flint stones will produce a spark and all the contraption will blow with a bang...
So, it is possible to make an impact explosive device with very low technology.


Thanks, for the real World experience and confirming that very low technology would work making impact explosive devices even if no one thought of doing it in period nor was kind enough to let us know about it, if they did do it, in some obscure manuscript or artwork. Sad

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 10:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
If they are messages why have two guys shooting them at once ? Two different messages or did the bureaucracy even in this period insist on duplicate copies. ;) :p


"Open the gates for us, and we'll not only let you live, we'll give you a bag of gold!" or similar, multiple copies can help.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Colt Reeves





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PostPosted: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 11:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, if you fire just one and it gets stuck on a roof somewhere where nobody can get to it or can't even find it, the defenders are unlikely to respond to specific demands or requests. Two or more messages shot in makes this a little more likely to work.
"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Sun 27 Feb, 2011 11:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have now misplaced my copy of the firework book, but from memory the fire charges were about an ounce = 30grams and is about the size of your index finger.

The compound is a mixture of sulphur, saltpetre and pitch in gunpowder proportions, but because there is no surface area like with grains and no very intimate mixing of the materials (as there is in powder milling operations) there can only be a very small flame front and so the burn is slow. The linen bag is stuffed with warm compound and then dipped in rosin to seal it.

They are really quite interesting things to use. They are very hard to light and you stick the end in a very hot brazier, but when they are lit they are very hard to put out as they carry their own oxygen. They spit out red hot liquid salt petre (oxidiser) and burn slow and steady with little 'gas jet' blow torch type flame extrusions for about a minute and a half. A flash will rarely start a fire, but a sustained and very hot heat for a considerable time stands much more chance and that is what these produce. Neither shooting them or standing on them, even on damp soil and grinding them underfoot, will put them out.

A few years back when I used to work for somebody else and I was learning how to make this stuff I once set off 3kg/6.5lbs by mistake inside his workshop. He was surprisingly understanding, but there was no question that we were going to try and put it out. Fortunately it was in the weld bay and little damage was done.

Wear gloves and use long shafts or draw short as they do spit some.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Feb, 2011 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Colt Reeves wrote:
Well, if you fire just one and it gets stuck on a roof somewhere where nobody can get to it or can't even find it, the defenders are unlikely to respond to specific demands or requests. Two or more messages shot in makes this a little more likely to work.


Yes but I was sort of joking and in real life one might send more than one copy over the wall ..... " dropped call ". Wink Razz

But for iconographic purposes the artist might show only one message being sent over the wall if the narrative of the artwork was supposed to show a critical moment in the specific siege where the message was the turning point of the siege i.e. they surrendered or they refused to surrender and this is why everyone was slaughtered .....

Also, just joking in part and the artwork could signify something completely different.

Anyone know more about the story this drawing is supposed to tell as historical context might let us better guess the purpose of the " strange " cylinders. Wink Big Grin Cool

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Feb, 2011 12:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:

They are really quite interesting things to use. They are very hard to light and you stick the end in a very hot brazier, but when they are lit they are very hard to put out as they carry their own oxygen. They spit out red hot liquid salt petre (oxidiser) and burn slow and steady with little 'gas jet' blow torch type flame extrusions for about a minute and a half. A flash will rarely start a fire, but a sustained and very hot heat for a considerable time stands much more chance and that is what these produce. Neither shooting them or standing on them, even on damp soil and grinding them underfoot, will put them out.



Incendiary is much more probable than arrow grenades which would be too heavy and have the impact ignition totally unsupported by historical records ( Just an interesting thought experiment ).

Even an explosive would probably use a fuze or slow match if used in period I am just guessing: A useful grenade would also be too heavy for an arrow and better hand thrown or using a sling.

In the 17th and 18th centuries I think there where hand throw grenades and some troops where called grenadiers. ( Not the period I have the most knowledge about ).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenadier

Anyway, excuse the digressions from the main question which is " what are those cylinders anyway ? "

Oh, and what are those large triangular conical objects at their waists ? Container for the fire-starters assuming that this is what they are ?

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Colt Reeves





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PostPosted: Mon 28 Feb, 2011 12:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quivers?
"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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P. L. Gross




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PostPosted: Tue 01 Mar, 2011 5:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you look closely, both cylinders appear to have small loops on the ends. Fuses perhaps? It's hard to tell.

Quote:
They are really quite interesting things to use. They are very hard to light and you stick the end in a very hot brazier, but when they are lit they are very hard to put out as they carry their own oxygen. They spit out red hot liquid salt petre (oxidiser) and burn slow and steady with little 'gas jet' blow torch type flame extrusions for about a minute and a half. A flash will rarely start a fire, but a sustained and very hot heat for a considerable time stands much more chance and that is what these produce. Neither shooting them or standing on them, even on damp soil and grinding them underfoot, will put them out.

That is definitely the coolest piece of information I've received in a while. Happy

As for the cones on their hips, I had figured they were arrow bags.

-Pete

From his weapons on the open road no man should step one pace away; you don't know for certain when you're on the open road when you might have need of your spear.
-Havamal
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 01 Mar, 2011 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

P. L. Gross wrote:

As for the cones on their hips, I had figured they were arrow bags.

-Pete


But arrow bags for arrows with the cylinders and needing to be shaped in a special way to hold unconventional arrows maybe.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 08 Mar, 2011 11:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
P. L. Gross wrote:

As for the cones on their hips, I had figured they were arrow bags.

-Pete


But arrow bags for arrows with the cylinders and needing to be shaped in a special way to hold unconventional arrows maybe.


Not really. This conical shape was very common for arrow containers, as the larger base of the cone allows convenient storage that would not damage the potentially fragile fletching, even though the potential for such damage in ordinary quivers is generally rather overstated. What I haven't seen before is such arrow bags being actually used as quivers rather than as logistical left containers left behind before assuming a shooting position.

(It's also worth noting that some cylindrical quivers with point-up storage--Eastern and Central Asian "closed quivers" spring to mind--usually had a slight conical shape.)
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