Axemen or Masemen in real world: where they are used FOR REAL?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Oleksandr Sereda, Oct 8, 2021.

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  1. haroon

    haroon Deity

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    Because sword works better in a city, it's a city weapon.
     
  2. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Swordsmen all listen to city pop/future funk playlists on youtube 24-7
     
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  3. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Yeah, it's not going to be easy to say and we don't have nearly enough to be "sure". It also depends how far back in history you want to go, since axes were (probably?) more common in combat before metal working was common, to the extent you could call those axes still...but you could certainly alter them to make them specifically for military use in principle so it probably happened a fair amount. I was thinking about the "on average, what saw most use with organized militaries". Similarly how small a blade is before it's a dagger *might* matter. Maybe the preferred sidearm for that is still the axe. But swords were pretty common in military use, even when not primary, so they actually have a chance if you remove improvised tools.
     
  4. r16

    r16 not deity

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    some Chinese manual from ages past where troops should be issued spears in open terrain but shields and swords in wooded or hilly locations and whatever , because of the increased possibilities of surprise contact . Some blog ı read possibly this year . Reinforced by the thing that starwells in European castles were designed to assist the defender retreating higher into the tower who could use his right/strong/sword hand freely while the attackers would be restricted by the walls .
     
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  5. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Fortifications as far back as the Mycenean 'Cyclopean' structures and as widely spaced as Europe/Mesopotamia and China/Japan all were designed so that attackers had to approach or were channeled into avenues of approach where their unshielded side was exposed to defending fire. Even such 'primitive' (non-urban) fortifications as the Gaulic/British Celt ring forts provided a relatively easy approach to the wooden gates only from the right - so that the attacker exposed his unshielded right side to the slingers further up to hill.
    Stairwells in the castles simply all curved to the left as they rose - so that the man trying to climb the stairs had his right arm next to the wall and so his movement of his 'swordarm' was restricted, while the man opposing any stair climber had his right arm towards the well and unrestricted. The climber also had to watch out for any landing, because it might include a 'murder hole' to his right from which a spear could be shoved into his unshielded side: there was no trace of Chivalry in castle design . . .
     
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  6. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Most of my experience with 2nd ed. D&D has been Dragonlance-related. The clerics in that setting do not use swords or daggers. They use either maces or staves.

    Unless you opt for the souped-up character class that's a combination of fighter and cleric, and that's the paladin. Paladins can use swords, and have some choice of clerical spells (not sure what level is necessary for that). It's specifically the Knights of Solamnia I'm thinking of.

    There's actually a kitchenware-related battle stat for the character of Tika Waylan in the Dragonlance game. She was originally a waitress/barmaid at the Inn of the Last Home, and joined the main characters as a fighter when their enemies burned the Inn. Tika's first weapon was a frying pan, which is a good weapon against draconians, as it's non-penetrating and therefore won't turn to stone or dust when it comes in contact with the draconian's body.

    I was actually trying to find a clip of Xena using a frying pan as a weapon, but stumbled across this Shadiversity video instead (there's a rambling ad about Audible inserted in his spiel, but at least he talks about Tolkein during the promotion):

     
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  7. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    There was an old, old cartoon in one of the New Yorker compilations, I think by Arno, that showed two policemen standing in the doorway of an apartment that has been wrecked: furniture overturned, lamps broken, pictures dangling from the wall. A woman is standing facing the police, with a severely dented cast iron frying pan in her hands.
    The caption:
    "Why yes, I did cry for help, but the tide of battle turned decisively in my favor."
     
  8. pecheneg

    pecheneg Warlord

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    Hmm, here it is necessary to distinguish between movement on the terrain and defense against unexpected attacks and an organized battle.
    If the spearmen or pikemen managed to deploy the formation, then they were quite successful in the hills, and in defense or attack from top to bottom, this was the preferred terrain.
    The forest is another matter, it is difficult to use long weapons there and form a formation in which spearmen have a decisive advantage (for example, due to the possibility of using weapons second and further next line depending on the length of the pike /spear)

    Why did you decide that there could only be a sword in your right hand, and not a spear?:D
    On the contrary, it is more convenient to hit the enemy from top to bottom "under your feet" with a rather long weapon.
     
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  9. pecheneg

    pecheneg Warlord

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    The sword has a clear advantage only with
    1. one of the options for storming fortifications – the most poorly prepared (escalade - assault with ladders). Here (provided that the sword has piercing capabilities) it can be used for blows from the bottom up and in a "dog fight" on the walls, if it can be imposed.
    2. In a confined space.
    When storming through a breach / demolished gate or with the help of a siege tower, and later on the streets, spearmen "decide".
    However, an "assault swordsman" is in any case a warrior who has temporarily put aside a spear or a two-handed weapon.
     
  10. Sofista

    Sofista Deity

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    Let's just look at the evidence: the Romans based their conquests until the third century on their gladius. After that, they switch to a longer sword, the spatha - and carry on for a few centuries more.
     
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  11. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    I've used woodcutting axes, and I have to say it does pack a punch. The problem is that it's so heavy it would be awful for defense, and way too easy to parry, as you can't feint with it properly, even with the weight making a straight parry difficult (good parries get the weapon to continue its force towards a direction the attacker didn't intend to anyways). I'd take a spear over it any day, although for that matter, a woodcutting axe over a frying pan/knife/collinder any day.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2021
  12. pecheneg

    pecheneg Warlord

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    Аll minimally civilized peoples had short swords of poor quality . What distinguished the Romans from their competitors was the ability to massively pour super-heavy darts with a metal part half a meter long on the enemy.

    "The next test was for penetrating ability. A sheet of 11 mm thick three-layer plywood was used as a target. The dart did not penetrate the plywood shield, when it struck, its tip always bent."
    However
    Pilum "the Renieblas type punched through the plywood, while, as the author of the tests notes, it was very difficult to pull it out — the edges of the hole closed around it."

    Generally

    "By order of the legates, the soldiers picked up the spears that littered the ground between that and the other army, and threw them at the enemy "turtle"; many spears pierced the shields, and some even into the very bodies of the enemies, and their wedge fell apart,".
     
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  13. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    I can't imagine anyone using a colander in battle unless it was fortified in some way, courtesy of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Oh, about the Shadiversity video I posted above: He mentions rolling pins and doesn't think they'd be a good choice. But he didn't mention that there are various types of rolling pins. I have one that's all one piece of wood and the non-handle part isn't smooth. It's meant for rolling bread dough out flat, so it's actually semi-sharp bumps on it on the entire surface that comes in contact with the dough. Conk someone on the head or in the face with that, or on the top of the hand, and it will definitely hurt.
     
  14. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    Colander was a joke, ofc, and I know you're joking here too, but just wanted to say good point regardless.

    It's a great video you shared. It's interesting how Shad noted that if you balanced a frying pan in a way that you swing with it sideways, it could be quite effective.
     
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  15. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy The long wait

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    You can usually tell if a hammer or axe is made for killing humans because it's lighter than ones for chopping through tougher material. Axes existed in copper, which was too soft for most forms of long edges.

    People usually use that word wrong. I would say that castle design captures the very spirit of Chivalry, minus the horses. Sort of house-chivalry.
     
  16. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Roman conquests were more about being able to throw a lot of bodies at a problem and a run of extraordinary good luck that the big Hellenistic empires went through a major rocky patch at the same time had beat Carthage for regional dominance in the western Mediterranean and went looking east.
    There also isn't anything to support the late Roman soldiers -in terms of equipment- were any less effective than the more famous classical legions.
     
  17. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I think this accounting for Roman success based on one weapon is likely somewhat reductive. Bret Devereaux' dissertation paper suggests the Romans decisively outweighed Carthage, and by extension their other main rivals in the Mediterranean basin, in terms of the amount of resources (most importantly the weight of worked metal) per man deployed.
     
  18. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    To ascribe military success entirely to some weapons type is the usual mistake of amateurs and civilians. Rome seized and maintained an Empire because she had an army of very well trained, experienced soldiers led by a very well trained and experienced corps of leaders from the decurion leading a 'squad' of 8 men up to the Senior Centurion of the senior Cohort of the Legion.

    Their weapons, in fact, kept changing. The original Roman military was a Greek-type phalanx 10 ranks deep (we know that because 'decurion' in fact translates as 'leader of 10' - they kept using the title even after the standard Roman rank became 8 men, just like modern armies still use the old French word for 'servant' to mean a Non-Commissioned Officer) armed with Hoplite-like spears. First the leading third, then two thirds, finally all of their heavy infantry were armed with swords, first long then short, then they added spears back (lanciarii), then they changed back to long swords, and finally the last infantry of the Empire carried long swords, a heavy wooden/metal trimmed shield and a long thrusting spear. They changed weapons and sizes of unit organizations to match conditions and enemies, but they were always well-trained and experienced men led by competent tactical leaders.

    The Empire fell because keeping 500,000 or more men equipped and paid so that they could train and fight full-time was an enormous financial burden on a very primitive taxation system. Add the consequences of the Antonine and Cyprian Plagues that wiped out up to a third of the population twice within 150 years, and the Empire couldn't afford to pay for its army any more, and the army began to shrink to where it could no longer defend the long borders. Exeunt Alles
     
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  19. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I would add that Rome managed to mobilize far more resources and manpower than the Carthaginians or any other Mediterranean power. Its system of alliances on the Italian peninsula allowed it to absorb massive losses and continue fighting in the first two Punic Wars.
     
  20. Snowygerry

    Snowygerry King

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    Also reflecting the changing make up of the legions over time yes, the Romans of the Punic wars were as distant from the late Empire infantry as I'm from the 14th century macemen in the picture above...
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
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