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Ryan S.




Location: Germany
Joined: 04 May 2012

Posts: 157

PostPosted: Sat 14 May, 2022 4:03 am    Post subject: Throwing Spears         Reply with quote

How effective were throwing spears? I know the Roman pilum were mainly used to reduce the usability of the enemies shield, and it appears to have been one of the first weapons. Probably it was then effective against an unarmed opponent, but I think the increased range would come at a loss of energy. Because there is no mechanical advantage to throwing, compared to thrusting and when throwing energy is spent moving the spear forward. That is, all things being equal, a thrust would hit harder than a throw. Am I right in my understanding of the physics?

Additional questions:
Can the same spear be used as a throwing spear and a thrusting spear?
What armor could be pierced with a contemporary spear?
How effective are spear throwing devices?
How do javelins etc. compare to arrows and bolts?
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T. Kew




Location: London, UK
Joined: 21 Apr 2012

Posts: 239

PostPosted: Yesterday at 12:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thrown spears remain in use for a really long time - writing in the 15th century, Duarte discusses javelins at some length in his Livro do Cavalgar (Book of Horsemanship). They seem to typically have had a reputation for hitting very hard compared to other missile weapons, but have the disadvantage of a much shorter range.

Quote:

Because there is no mechanical advantage to throwing, compared to thrusting and when throwing energy is spent moving the spear forward.


This is very complicated, in short. Throwing an object is a different type of movement to pushing/shoving it in a number of ways, and can be substantially more explosive (since you don't need to control the end of the movement).

HEMA fencer and coach, New Cross Historical Fencing
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,596

PostPosted: Yesterday at 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Javelins are better than arrows for punching through shields and armour.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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