Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Javelin Throws Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
Jaroslav Jakubov




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 26 Aug 2008

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Thu 23 Jan, 2014 5:17 am    Post subject: Javelin Throws         Reply with quote

I'm researching for some info about ancient javelins, anyway i run into contradicting info that just confuses me a lot.

i found this document online about ankyle, yet info in that document sounds a bit strange to me:

http://www.coloradomesa.edu/shared/facprofile...eofthe.pdf

they mention that javelin launch velocity increased from 4m/s to 5.4m/s, aren't these speeds a bit low for a projectile that is supposed to reach 25-30m distance? From other sources i found on internet, usually maximum speed javelin can achieve is stated to be 30m/s for modern Olympic javelin 800g heavy... that's quite a difference.. i know modern javelin throwing is done from short run, anyway still, release speed almost 8x higher doesn't sounds right to me..


any insight on this topic?
View user's profile Send private message
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,187

PostPosted: Thu 23 Jan, 2014 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The folks throwing at such low speeds likely just weren't terribly good at it in relative terms. You see this dynamic for lots of historical weapons, though the disparity in atlatl numbers across published studies is perhaps the greatest. I generally believe the higher numbers come closest to how such weapons performed in the hands of experienced warriors.

For example of how non-Olympic experienced throwers throw, see Sir Baldwin Spencer's Native Tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia. Spencer wrote that men in community on Melville Island managed to throw a ten-foot, four-pound spear 104-143 feet (31-43.6 meters). So the worst thrower in this test, throwing by hand, did as well with a much heavier projectile as the folks with the ankyle.

However, the Melville Island throwers had a running start of up to twenty feet, while the ankyle users could only take one step forward. Come to think of it, that could easily account for much of the difference right there.

Looking at it some more, I think the high-speed camera failed to accurately record the throw velocity. According to this calculator, a projectile released at 5.4 m/s at a 45-degree angle would attain a range of less than 3 m in a vacuum. You need about 17.5 m/s to reach 31 m - and air resistance would increase that.

As an aside, Spencer's numbers support the notion that at least heavy spears/javelin could penetrate armor. Even the shortest throw probably had over 300 J of kinetic energy initially. This stands consistent with Vegetius's claim and has long made me wonder why thrown javelins or spears mostly fell out of use in the sixteenth century.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Márk György Kis





Joined: 02 Jul 2013

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu 23 Jan, 2014 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mind the phrase: STARTING velocity. It will get more 'a' in that 'v'. Furthermore, another study confirmed these numbers.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jaroslav Jakubov




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 26 Aug 2008

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2014 3:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="As an aside, Spencer's numbers support the notion that at least heavy spears/javelin could penetrate armor. Even the shortest throw probably had over 300 J of kinetic energy initially. This stands consistent with Vegetius's claim and has long made me wonder why thrown javelins or spears mostly fell out of use in the sixteenth century.[/quote]

I think it was mostly due to lack of skill with throwing javelins.. Roman Legionaries practiced it every day to be proficient with it, Germanic tribes used Angon in Britain for quite some time too, and were used until replaced by bows not because bows were more effective, but because it was easier to shoot from bow than throw the javelin effectively. And once javelin throwing was not practiced, it just disappeared..
View user's profile Send private message
Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2014 5:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Márk György Kis wrote:
Mind the phrase: STARTING velocity. It will get more 'a' in that 'v'. Furthermore, another study confirmed these numbers.


Sorry, what? This doesn't seem to make sense for a physics stand point. Though I can see the javelin increasing speed on the downward part of its flight, I would imagine that it doesn't actually increase in speed after it has left its thrower's hand? I would be interested to know how that works... or maybe I just need to drink some more coffee...
View user's profile Send private message
Jaroslav Kravcak




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 22 Apr 2006

Posts: 123

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2014 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Are there any properly done tests on how would a javelin thrown with force mentioned earlier perform against plate armour, maybe even compared to other types of projectiles from longbows, crossbows, firearms from 15th/16th century?

Once thrown, it would generally only loose energy in a flight, while swinging poleaxe with full force seems to have much more devastating potential to me. On the other hand it seems to me like a one handed spear thrust would be inferior in its penetrating capabilities to thrown javelin, but maybe its only my feelings, based on how much stress Im able to put on my single hand, when stabbing into something. (It feels much easier to throw javelin and let go from hand at short distance, that to thrust with it.)

What about capabilities of mentioned javelins compared to thrusting spear/couched lance from horseback?

I can recollect one example from Muntaners chronicle of Almoghavar duelling Athenian knight, it stated he burried his javelin deep in a horse and then proceeded to finish off the knight trapped under his horse, that fell in the meantime. Almoghavars seem like savages, that could very well preserve ancient traditions of javelin throwing and be a good example of it, but it wasnt clear from the text, if burried javelin was thrown, or thrusted.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Ben Coomer




Location: Colorado
Joined: 06 Sep 2011

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2014 1:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:

As an aside, Spencer's numbers support the notion that at least heavy spears/javelin could penetrate armor. Even the shortest throw probably had over 300 J of kinetic energy initially. This stands consistent with Vegetius's claim and has long made me wonder why thrown javelins or spears mostly fell out of use in the sixteenth century.


My guess would be logistics would be against them in Renaissance armies. They are bulkier than arrows and a bit harder to carry and you won't have as many. The length of a decent javelin and the need for a bit of room to manuever for a throw probably didn't go with the idea of dense pike blocks and firing lines that were in vogue as well. Add in training time and a Renaissance commander has no reason to go with them.

Which is a shame. I like javelins myself and agree they are better weapons then most expect. But its often NOT the raw quality of a weapon that makes it suitable for the battlefield.
View user's profile Send private message
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,187

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2014 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There were certain groups - notably the Irish - who used javelins extensively through the sixteenth century. But English accounts describe Irish as darts as not particularly effective. As skirmishing weapons, light javelins/darts strike me as thoroughly outmatched by bows and guns, mainly because of their much lower velocity and thus range. What's curious to me is how, even as everybody and their brother was trying to revive the Roman legion, no military writer I know of discussed the heavy javelin. The sword and target saw significant use in the field, but javelins much less. Fourquevaux did describe targeteers hurling fire pots or grenades at pike formations before closing with the sword, with friendly pikers following right behind them. So the basic it was there, but with grenades instead of heavy javelins.
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 487

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jan, 2014 6:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
There were certain groups - notably the Irish - who used javelins extensively through the sixteenth century. But English accounts describe Irish as darts as not particularly effective. As skirmishing weapons, light javelins/darts strike me as thoroughly outmatched by bows and guns, mainly because of their much lower velocity and thus range. What's curious to me is how, even as everybody and their brother was trying to revive the Roman legion, no military writer I know of discussed the heavy javelin. The sword and target saw significant use in the field, but javelins much less. Fourquevaux did describe targeteers hurling fire pots or grenades at pike formations before closing with the sword, with friendly pikers following right behind them. So the basic it was there, but with grenades instead of heavy javelins.

I think the gun and other blackpowder weapons had basically made the pilum functionally obsolete considering the raw energy, smaller size, and noise shock effects of explosives compared to a dart, a blackpowder grenade
is smaller, thus a man could carry more, has the to break loosely disciplined even with killing or disarming (the noise of one).
A heavy javelin is much bigger thus less can be carried by a single man , produce less energy, and are quiet, thus to have to hit something or someone to contribute to formation breakage. With a grenade or any other black powder weapons, you can cause distruption even without hitting anyone or anything just because of the sheer noise of the things.
View user's profile Send private message
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,187

PostPosted: Sat 25 Jan, 2014 7:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another factor is that only folks in front of friendly pike formations could throw javelins effectively, both because they need a running start and because pikes would block javelins. So javelin-throwing targetiers would have to go before the pikes as in Fourquevaux's arrangement. Targetiers did sometimes use pistols in the sixteenth century in addition to grenades.

Anyways, going back to classical context, theorizing that well-thrown javelins could pierce period defenses such as mail and shields goes a considerable ways toward explaining the prevalence of javelins in warfare for hundreds of years.

Additionally, it's my understanding the sword-shield-javelin combo saw more use in the fifteenth century.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,187

PostPosted: Tue 19 Aug, 2014 10:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To amend my earlier statement, Diego de Salazar's 1537 rendition of Machiavelli's Art of War does equip targetiers with two javelins (dardos) that they are to throw from the front of the army. And Matthew Sutcliffe's 1593 military treatise mentions equipping targetiers with half-pikes both to throw at infantry and hold fast to resist cavalry. So at least a few 16th-century military authors did conceive of reviving something like the pilum. I don't know whether any of these plans were realized in practice.
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Likes: 23 pages

Posts: 447

PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2014 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
There were certain groups - notably the Irish - who used javelins extensively through the sixteenth century. But English accounts describe Irish as darts as not particularly effective. As skirmishing weapons, light javelins/darts strike me as thoroughly outmatched by bows and guns, mainly because of their much lower velocity and thus range. What's curious to me is how, even as everybody and their brother was trying to revive the Roman legion, no military writer I know of discussed the heavy javelin. The sword and target saw significant use in the field, but javelins much less. Fourquevaux did describe targeteers hurling fire pots or grenades at pike formations before closing with the sword, with friendly pikers following right behind them. So the basic it was there, but with grenades instead of heavy javelins.


Polish infantrymen of 15th and 16th century quite often show up with javelins to inspections. No matter if they're shooters, shield bearers, or polearm wielders.

They usually have javelin or two in connection to their 'proper' weaponry.

Of course, this doesn't prove much, because word 'oszczep' could have different meaning 'zone' back then.

On the other hand in some instances this word occurs next to forms like 'szefelin' which seems like obvious calque of German 'Schefflin' from 'javelline'.
View user's profile Send private message
Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Mon 01 Sep, 2014 2:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
To amend my earlier statement, Diego de Salazar's 1537 rendition of Machiavelli's Art of War does equip targetiers with two javelins (dardos) that they are to throw from the front of the army. And Matthew Sutcliffe's 1593 military treatise mentions equipping targetiers with half-pikes both to throw at infantry and hold fast to resist cavalry. So at least a few 16th-century military authors did conceive of reviving something like the pilum. I don't know whether any of these plans were realized in practice.


I'm not sure that these mentions were entirely prescriptive or that they were meant to be a revival of the Roman pilum. Javelins were fairly popular weapons in the Iberian peninsula throughout the Middle Ages, and javelin-throwing light cavalry (known as jinetes survived into the Renaissance, some being brought over to fight in the Italian Wars. Don Quixote also had a scene where the Don came across a carriage escorted by two rodeleros carrying a pair of javelins each; while this is a scene in a work of fiction, it does imply that the idea of targeteers carrying javelins might not have been entirely alien to the Renaissance mind, at least in Spain.

Salazar's name sounds Spanish so he might have altered Machiavelli's prescriptions to suit what he's used to. Of course, there's one interesting detail in that I don't think I've run across any accounts of Spanish rodeleros or similar targeteers carrying or using javelins in pitched battle; so it's possible that the javelin was more likely to have been carried in civilian context (or, at most, on the march or in outpost duties), and that the notion of turning it into battlefield practice never really took hold.
View user's profile Send private message
Alexis Bataille




Location: montpellier
Joined: 31 Aug 2014

Posts: 95

PostPosted: Mon 08 Sep, 2014 11:50 pm    Post subject: Really :) ?         Reply with quote

300 joules for a javelin ? You sure x) ? because its far more powerfull than a bow (100-120 joules) perhaps that's a reason that we see more javeliners than archers in greek warfare ?
View user's profile Send private message
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,187

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep, 2014 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: Really :) ?         Reply with quote

Alexis Bataille wrote:
300 joules for a javelin ? You sure x) ? because its far more powerfull than a bow (100-120 joules) perhaps that's a reason that we see more javeliners than archers in greek warfare ?


For Olympic-level athletes with a running start, there's no question about it. And above I mentioned a test with a 4lb spear that suggests 300-400 J with a running start of 20ft for experience throwers. It depends greatly on the weight of the projectile, the style of throw, the strength of the thrower, and the skill of the thrower.

While the power of such throws indeed impresses, the relatively low velocity and the required running start involved make mighty throws quite easy to dodge or defect except at extremely close range. I suspect that's why primarily heavy infantry employed heavy javelins and used them against foes in formation. Lighter javelins don't hit as hard but probably still harder than arrows, albeit with less velocity, range, and accuracy.

Roman heavy javelins probably weren't thrown with a full running start, so they might only have delivered 150-200 J at impact when thrown well, which would still be enough to pierce the armor of the time as Vegetius claimed.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Alexis Bataille




Location: montpellier
Joined: 31 Aug 2014

Posts: 95

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep, 2014 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

wow 300-400J, impressive ! But i was asking to myself about greece warfare like 500 BCE,there where far more light skirmisher Pelast with a small shield and javelins than archer. It was because bow where very expensive or because bow was not strong enough to pierce shield ?
View user's profile Send private message
Jaroslav Jakubov




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 26 Aug 2008

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Tue 16 Sep, 2014 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

using simple calculator, for a javelin to reach 40m while being thrown at 30 degrees you need at least 25m/s release speed, but that is for vacuum. so actual release speed to get that far would have to be higher. Adding amentum/ankyle to a javelin would increase its release speed, so it could get even farther. From what i saw, trained university athlete was able to throw 800g heavy javelin with ankyle at range around 50-60m, and that was just after brief training how to use it properly. again, to get that far, release speed had to be quite high, and while it would decrease at range, it would still be higher than 9m/s (free fall) most likely around 14-15m/s or more, which would still give heavy javelin a lot of punch. (2kg javelin at 14m/s gives 200 joules)

now if we take light javelin used by peltats, which were around 300-400g heavy, adding ankyle, these could get quite far i think, we might be even surprised how far.. some ancient authors mention some performances at Olympic games, where some athletes were able to throw javelin across the horse track field (i'll try to find exact statement later). yet, i guess, impact speed would be a bit higher due to longer throw, but of course momentum of 300g javelin will be much lower than for 2kg pilum..
View user's profile Send private message
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,187

PostPosted: Tue 16 Sep, 2014 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaroslav Jakubov wrote:
using simple calculator, for a javelin to reach 40m while being thrown at 30 degrees you need at least 25m/s release speed, but that is for vacuum. so actual release speed to get that far would have to be higher.


I get 55.23m for a 25m/s projectile released at a 30-degree angle according to HyperPhysics. Also, curiously enough, javelins can travel farther in air than in vacuum because of lift. For example, the old Olympic javelin design could travel something like 10+% farther in air, and the current design still travels slightly farther than it would in vacuum.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykřbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 796

PostPosted: Wed 17 Sep, 2014 8:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From very early times (oldest found is 27.000 years ago from France) many people also used wooden spear-throwers that greatly increase range and power of javelins. According to this site the world record for a wooden atlatl (aztec word for a spear-thrower) is 230 meters set by a Finnish guy!
Source: http://www.ancientcraft.co.uk/News/2012/28_07_12.html
That it's pretty damn long and must mean an awful lot of power compared to a standard hand javelin throw.

I remember seeing greek vases where they used a string ankyle instead. It's probably not as long range as a wooden spear thrower; but should still be more powerful or more accurate than a hand throw.

Source: http://schoolworkhelper.net/wp-content/upload...-throw.jpg


Source: http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/14300/14399/acontium_14399_lg.gif

Articles about the ankyle and spear throwing beside the one mentioned in the first post:
https://www.academia.edu/2631534/Recreating_the_Ancient_Greek_Javelin_Throw_How_Far_Was_the_Javelin_Thrown
&
https://www.academia.edu/1406260/Throwing_the_Greek_Dory_How_Effective_is_the_Attached_Ankyle_at_Increasing_the_Distance_of_the_Throw

Conclusion is from the second paper that throwing a greek spear with ankyle cause an 50% increase than if throwing without.
View user's profile Send private message
Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 28 Feb 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,187

PostPosted: Wed 17 Sep, 2014 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The first paper by Murray and company is fascinating because of how poorly the ancient replica javelin performed compared with modern sporting javelins. The athletes threw the 450g replica 33-50m by hand while they could throw the 800g sporting javelins 60-70m! Even with the ankyle they only managed 56-66m.

In a vacuum you'd need around 23 m/s to throw a javelin 50m at the typical 30ish-degree release angle. That'd only be about 120 J. Around 27 m/s for the 66m throw with the ankyle would be roughly 160 J. By contrast a 70m throw with a 800g modern javelin would be approximately 300 J. Of course, given the apparent worse aerodynamic properties of the wooden replica, the energy figures would likely be higher than in vacuum, while with the modern javelins they might be slight lower.

Thanks for sharing that study. I do wonder if differently designed replica javelins would have performed better - perhaps stiffer and/or thicker wood, etc.

If Irish darts had similar kinetic energy and range (120-180J and 50-70m) then I can see 16th-century English observers didn't find them particularly impressive.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Javelin Throws
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum