Weapon Purposes

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Lord_Croanan, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. Lord_Croanan

    Lord_Croanan King and Conquerer

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    I'm currently programing a type of medieval game, and need help as far as unit types strengths and weaknesses.

    For example, who would come out on top with a soldier armed with a sword and sheild vs. a soldier armed with a spear and shield? Both are equal strength and armor, and the spear being about 5 or 6 feet, the sword would be a standard one-handed sword.
    And we're talking in general, like maybe 50 men vs. 50 men, who would come out on top, swords or spears?

    Also, can the same soldiers armed with spears (5 or 6 feet) and shields stop a calvary charge? The calvary could be armed with swords and sheilds, armoured or not, as well as their horse armoured or not.

    Also, is it true that some knight's armor are actualy impervious to sword blows? One handed and two handed? or just one handed?

    Also, who would come out on top with swords and axes? Same scenario as the above spear vs sword.

    Thanks for whoever answered this
     
  2. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    I made a big long reply but then IE crashed so I lost it gggrrr. I'll try and do it again tomorrow.
     
  3. Soulsmith

    Soulsmith Forging souls anew...

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    id say a spear would have an advantage but of course, if the shaft was wooden a strong blow could slice it and if the swordsmen blocked the spear thrust and sent it flying say, off to thr right, the spearman would be open.
     
  4. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Have you ever tried chopping wood across the grain? Very hard. And that's with an axe.

    No time today sorry, I'll try Monday first thing.
     
  5. Lord_Croanan

    Lord_Croanan King and Conquerer

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    Thank you, anything is most helpful
     
  6. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm basing this purely on my own experience and thoughts from "fighting" with a re-enactment club. We do simulated combat but it gives you some idea of how people would fight if it were for real.

    Patrick Kelly would be a good guy to ask. I'll buzz Senekha as well, she does SCA heavy fighting.

    Hmm, one on one I'd back the guy with sword and shield. Once you're past the point of a spear, it's just a big stick. If you can rush past or sweep aside the spear head, the rest of it isn't dangerous at all.


    For formation, I'm backing spear and shield. Have you seen 300? Or know anything about the Roman tactics? Form a tight shield formation, then stick your spears out of it. One armoured hedgehog of death. Anyone comes close, you stab them.

    Even in a line, if not a solid hedgehog formation, a line of spearmen is a lethal fighting force. The guy right in front of you might not be able to get past your shield, but his buddies on either side of you will nail you in any unprotected spot they can reach.
    But again, in a line, if you can somehow get past all the spearheads and break up their line, sword and shield is great for survivability.


    Hmm with ordinary spear and shield, I'll say no, but I could be wrong historically. I think shiltrams are the name of big long spears used by footmen against horsemen, ala Braveheart. But you'd need to brace them on the ground, or the force of 400kg of horse and rider would just smash you off your feet if you tried to spear a horse head on.

    Supposing you had a line of spearmen - say 100kg of armoured spearmen vs 400kg of horse and rider - I'm backing the horse to smash that line, even if it dies in the process.
    For a hedgehog of death, you probably wouldn't want to go charging up to it on horseback as a stronger unit is better able to absorb a hit (and don't forget, horses will shy from certain situations of their own accord). Far better to ride kind of close and throw somethign flammable on the hedgehog and set it on fire :D Fire is a deadly weapon because ain't no armour that can stop fire.



    Debatable. Yes the idea of armour of all sorts is that stops the blade's cutting edge from getting to your skin. So you may get a bruise or fracture or broken bone, but you won't get a massive gash right down to the bone.
    An analogy - put a small furry animal in a tin can. Smash the can repeatedly. The can may only get a few dents and dings in it, but I'll bet you that the small furry animal won't be feeling too good!

    This is why warhammers were developed. Blunt force trauma is still deadly even if it doesn't break your skin or bones. People can die in car accidents even if they have seatbelts and airbags, because their squishy internal organs still get smashed around inside their bodies.
    And spiked weapons work a treat too. A good strong focused point can punch a hole through steel plate that will never be penetrated by a sword or axe strike.
    The human body is usually the weakest factor, not the armour.
    Great protection = heavy = slow to move, but if you get hit there's a good chance you'll survive.
    Low protection = light = fast to move, but if you get hit you're dead.


    You mean a two handed sword vs a two handed axe? A long axe is a frightful weapon due to leverage and all the weight of the head being on the very end. The Saxon kings' elite bodyguards (Huscarls) were axe wielders.
    It'll be slower than a two handed sword, but you probably have no chance of blocking a powerful swing. However it's only got a cutting/cleaving edge at the very end of it, so like the spear, if you can get past the head, a sword is easier to maneuver, and can cut all along both its edges.
    So, one hit, I'm going for the axe :) But you'd better nail the swordsman in the first few swings or chances are he'll engage much closer and kill you in one of many different ways.

    Sword and shield vs axe and shield - I'd go for the sword and shield personally. It's longer, probably more maneuverable, and still perfectly capable of cutting superbly. A one handed axe, due to its end-heavy nature, can't be as long as a single handed sword AND be controlled to the same degree. So the axeman will be using less control and more power, and the swordsman will be using more control and less power. And from my experience, control is a good thing to have.

    Like I said, all this is purely my opinion. Historical examples may prove me wrong, in which case I will admit my errors :D
     
  7. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Mub: In a lot of those scenario's you'll also have to factor in the wielder's skill with the weapon.

    For example with the Shield+Sword vs Shield+Axe it would really be pushing it saying what is better. It depends ont he individual person. A bigger person with greater physical strength would obviously have a greater control over an axe since they have the sufficient strength to flail it about, meaning control may not be a downside against the sword wielder.
     
  8. Senekha

    Senekha <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    I"ll put in my two cents :) I pretty much agree with Mubb on these things, so I'll quote him and write any differences of thought I have.

    Generally speaking, I would also back the sword and board guy over a shield and spear. But as Met pointed out, it's largely based on skill. If you had Mr Sword and Mr Spear, both equal in talent with their respective weapons....it'd be close, but I'd go with sword. Spear has more range, but in close, especially if there's a shield, the spear is useless.

    These spears are 5-6 feet? Hmm...I'm more familiar with a two-handed halberd or pike, from 9-11 feet long. In one on one against a swordsman with a shield, I'd definately vote on the swordsman, because all he has to do is rush the spearman and use his shield to control the spear as he charges. Now, if you have an experienced pikeman, he can often snap the spear/pike back into a two-handed grip, crossways across his body, and use that as an effective shield while he gets back out of the swordsman's range. So really, it depends on skill level, but it both were equally skilled, the swordsman has an advantage. Sword and board is solid and versatile, easy to switch from defensive to offensive, and if he's worth his beans, a good swordsman should be able to bottle up and not let anything past his defense in 1 vs 1 against a pikeman.



    Hmm, this one's more debatable. A sword and shield formation is a formidable thing, tight, and a swordsman can strike over his shield without breaking the shield wall. However, the spearmen would have to move their shield over or down in order to get an effective strike in. Lol, take 300, for example - when they struck, they broke the shield wall, though it was an effective strike. However, those Persion swordsmen they were up against sucked :p

    The major advantage of a spear formation is that it has range, whereas the swordsmen do not. So, all said, the sword formation is tighter, but the spear formation has range. Fairly even, if the skill levels are the same, but I'm almost more inclined to the spears...if they did their job and stayed locked together, the sword formation would have a heck of a time getting close.



    Hmmm indeed. If the spearmen are armed only with a spear and shield, I say no. They could stop the horse with a spear through the chest, but the momentum of the charge would mean that most of the spears would not be salvagable. Now, if the spearmen were also armed with shortswords, that's a whole other story. Imagine that you have a small sortie of horsemen (say 30 or so) against a single formation of hoplites (heavy infantry of spear and shield). They could break the first line, at least, by killing the horses with a thrown spear as they close in, and if that went well the would probably be able to take out the rider one on one. BUt if the horsemen know what they're about, then they'll be at least three lines deep, and the remaining lines would break the infantry formation. HOwever, if the infantry were lucky and managed to take out all the horses (which would probably take several passes of the horses - first pass, first line throws spears and immediately snap into a turtle-type shield lock, second pass, second line throws, etc etc). Cavalry riders will probably not be trained in foot formations, so a tight formation would easily take them out. Also to note, I highly doubt that the cavalry would have shields, unless they were very small. One hand free for the reins, one hand for a cavalry sword or crossbow.

    Even so...I'd almost always place my bet on a well-trained cavalry.

    If the cavalry was of impressive size (ie. Rohirrim in Return of the King), well, I don't think the charge could be broken at all, on the first pass. They could take out the front horses, maybe, but then their spears are spent (assuming they only have one) and the riders behind simply ride them down.

    Now, I don't have any experience against riders (we don't do that in the SCA), but those are my thoughts on that. For the game, if you have an equal amount of infantry vs cavalry, calavry will decimate them. If you have double the infantry than cavalry, I'm still leaning towards the cavalry to win out - they have speed, and the weight of their horses to kill as well. Thrice as many infantry as cavalry...well, it they're well trained infantry, that's starting t cut it close. So really, it all depends on numbers.



    rofl :D

    Hm, not much to add to that :D If you want to talk chainmail, well, yes swords can break through chainmail. BUt heavy plate armour, that takes a little more doing to break through, and even if a hard sword blow (you'd need a twohanded sword to break it, imo) doesn't break through, it will still break bones, and a guy with a shattered hip is pretty much dead in a battle. And warhammers. MMmmmm, warhammers :D Yea, a well placed blow to the head, shoulder, chest, or hip (or legs for that matter) is a killing blow. If the shoulder or hip is smashed, it may be a slow death is he's left alone, but it's enough that the guy with the hammer will the keep going. Best thing for him is to play dead, lol XD

    As to impervious, hm. A shortsword may not break right through plate armour, but the swordsman will be aiming for the crack, where the plates meet, to score a hit.




    Yep yep. However, some axes had nasty points on the top, good for punching through armour, and a hook on on side. Nasty combination, imo. Deadly, but slow. The axe haft can be used very effectively to block any blows (I've fought against two handed axes before). Still, I'm with Mub in that the fast swordsman should win, but it wouldn't be an easy win.

    Well said, and for that reason the shield and axe combination isn't very common. THey sure are fun, though :D A mace and a shield would be more effective, as you don't have to be as accurate (ie hitting only with the one end of the blade). Maces are excellent for smashing bone and crippling people, though.


    All said and done, in real history, there were every possible variation of results, all depending on skill and discipline. BUt for strictly game purposes, well, I hope my rambling made sense, lol.
     
  9. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Maces are also excellent for turning someone's face into a bloody pulp...essentially killing them lol
     
  10. Lord_Croanan

    Lord_Croanan King and Conquerer

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    Thank you all! This is helping make this at least slightly realistic (I was tempted to throw in orcs, but I don't remember Europe ever experinincing orcish invasions)

    I forgot to ask about another big part of the game, and thats long ranged weapons. (If your tired of answering questions, I understand, its just wikipedia only goes so far)

    Lets say your a large group of soldiers assaulting a wall, and there are archers on top. If the archers are armed with composite bows, and fire down on you, and if you had a sheild, would the arrow go straight through or would it be stopped if it hit the shield? What about longbows? I know crossbows probably would, nasty powerful things.

    And is there any type of armor thats imperivous to arrows? I'm sure at some range they are, any ideas?

    And throwing axes, in the game im only thinking of the big ones, not hatchets, what are the chances of surviving a hit from one of those things? Would a sheild again be effective?

    Thanks again, I'm actually learing something through this game.
     
  11. Meteorain

    Meteorain Magical & Mystical

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    Concerning the arrows and shields, I would think the chance of penetrating the shield really depends on your luck, and also what material the shield is composed of. If's a wooden shield, then it will probably penetrate, but sometimes not too deep, just getting stuck in the shield. If I was some sort of metal shield, it would most likely just bounce of lol

    As for the throwing axe thing, I think that just sort of comes down to logic. I mean if you had one of those huge axes dwarves run around with thrown at you, I'm thinking your not going to be surviving if it takes you anywhere in the head, neck or torso.
     
  12. Senekha

    Senekha <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    Like Met said, with wooden shields it's likely that they will penetrate, but won't go all the way through. If they're metal shields, they'll most likely just dent it and bounce off (unless you have a really crappy shield). Lol, in 300, when all those arrows stuck into the metal shields - totally wouldn't happen, especially at that impossible range.

    From a wall, crossbows are the best weapon. They take longer to load than a longbow, but are far more powerful and effective in defending a siege. You can have regular crossbows, or even mounted, larger crossbows. If you're having a siege situation, give the men on the walls both crossbows and longbows. A longbow can shoot 3-5 arrows in the time it takes to load a crossbow bolt.

    As for breaking through armour, it all depends on the type and quality of armour. Leather armour, yes, chainmail, most likely (especially if these crossbow bolts had a heavy, barbed head), plate armour, possibly. If the range is good enough and the crossbow powerful enough, it can break through plate armour.



    Depends on what kind of arrow. Plate armour would be the best bet, but it wouldn't be invincible. It would, however, offer more protection from projectiles than leather or chainmail would.

    Um, I don't know the likelyhood of having throwing axes that are that big. They would be very hard to handle, and taking the weight of such weapons into account, they wouldn't have much range, so a twohanded battleaxe would be far more effective than trying to throw a big axe. In any case, IF the right end of the blade managed to hit you, you'd pretty much be screwed - if not killed, then likely severely maimed. Unless you have a shield, in which case you could easily deflect/dodge it - unless you didn't see it coming.
     
  13. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    It's not 100% complete but I ran out of time to finish this post!


    Too true, too true. However for scientific purposes I assumed an equal match in size, strength and skill of the combatants, so that the only difference was

    the weapons being discussed.



    Agreed, the shield should stop the arrow. If it hit perfectly angled it might split a grain line or penetrate a weak spot in the wood, but really, I'd say -

    effective arrow stopping.

    Longbows I'd guess the same. Longbows don't fire a fast arrow, but they can throw a very heavy arrow. So more oomph on impact. There are historical sources

    describing a longbow penetrating a 3 inch thick oak door. But I'd still say no to penetrating shields to the point of killing the person behind it.

    Crossbows - yes, very slow, but very powerful and accurate. Not that a trained archer wasn't deadly accurate as well, but you can train a crossbowman in

    weeks, whereas it takes a lifetime of trainig to be a good battlefield archer.
    If we're assuming the crossbow is vs the same theoretical wooden shield, then in your game perhaps you could have a 10-20% chance of an arrow injuring or

    killing someone with a shield vs a longbow or composite bow, and maybe a 30-40% of injuring or killing with a crossbow?

    Armour and weapons always "one-up" each other. Arrows vs mail. Crossbows vs plate. Gunpowder made armour too heavy to be practical, so lots of people

    stopped wearing it and carrying more guns lol.


    Keep in mind that the effectiveness of military archery against all types of armour and shields etc is one of THE most hotly debated military history topics,

    period. As an archer with an interestin history, all I'll say is that no general who keeps winning would continue bringing along a veyr large and expensive

    fighting force if they thought they coudl spend their money better to get more of an advantage. Archers were important to military leaders of the time.

    That imho should be all the argument needed by us modern day debaters.
    And forget that Battlefield Detectives Agincourt special - what a load of unscientific tripe that was. They should be ashamed.




    Sure there is, but did you want your warrior to still be able to move? :) Like I said, armour is always a compromise between weight vs protection. Put

    someone in 3 inch thick steel plates, they'll be impervious to arrows. But their knees will collapse lol.

    Mail and padding (which were always combined istorically I believe) is surprisingly effective. Even against long needle shaped bodkins designed to split

    rings, if it's backed with good quality padding, it'll penetrate but the padding stops it superbly.

    I've seen some balistics testing of 150lb longbows vs armour. If you don't get a really dead square angle to the armour, the arrow simply deflects off.

    That's why plate is curved. Blows from weapons and arrows are dsigned to glance off rather than stick in.
    Plus arrows are long and flexible and wobble in flight and on impact. Whereas a crossbow bolt is shorter and stiffer, thus giving it more of a chance of

    penetrating.
    That's why many archers would aim for the face. If anyone had their visor up, or was wearing an open faced helm with a coif for example, a hit to the face

    was effectively unarmoured. Heaps of people died with arrows in their face. Ouch.





    Using LOTR as an example, throwing axes are only the size of Gimli's belt axes. Maybe 30-45cm long, smallish head, but you throw one of those babies and you

    can feel the "whump!" when it hits your target. Very satisfying. And remember how squishy humans are. Ever played British Bulldogs, basically chasey with

    a wet tennis ball? Now imagine getting hit with something that weighs a kilogram and is made of steel and wood, as opposed to a few hundred grams of wet

    fluffy tennis ball. We've destroyed many a shield with our throwing axes.
     
  14. Senekha

    Senekha <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    Hehehe, I was at war this weekend, and we had ballista. Awesome if they're on your side, but deadly and hateful to have against you! We had a 4-story castle to storm, with archers and crossbowmen, and our opponents had a regiment of hoplites, shieldmen with javelins. It was freaking awesome! We wiped them out. We were about evenly numbered, but our shield wall was so solid and disciplined, they didn't stand a chance.
     
  15. Kenshin

    Kenshin Drifter

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    hm, do you guys use real weapons Sen? or do you use replicas or something??
     
  16. Senekha

    Senekha <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    We use weapons made from rattan, which is a thick bamboo. This way, we can hit as hard as is realistic, without actually killing anyone, lol. Enormous bruises are very commonplace, and broken bones are not unheard of. Our arrows have a thick blunted end that ensures that they will not penetrate or go through our helms, though they still leave nice dents even on steel plate armour.
     
  17. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    No killing people? What fun is that? j/k :D
     
  18. Senekha

    Senekha <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><

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    lol, well we kill them, just not really kill them :p lol in one battle some guy in a charge against us died and decided to tackle me, so I was pinned underneath him going, "Okaaay....I'm not dead..." but I managed to roll him off and get back up. The other guys watching (those who already died) were like, "Wow, you just popped back up after that brutal slam!" but the truth is, you don't really feel much pain in the midst of battle because of the adrenaline. Afterwards, however...
     
  19. Kenshin

    Kenshin Drifter

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    ah i see. well that sounds awesome. i wish there was something like that around here in Virginia... if there is, i havent found it yet :(
     
  20. Kakashi

    Kakashi The Fighters Guide House Member

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    sure there is, if you look in the right places. I'm thinking of doing something like that when i get older.