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Online Comics => Odysseus The Rebel => Topic started by: ClaudiusPtolemy on July 20, 2009, 08:38:40 am

Title: Only melee weapons?
Post by: ClaudiusPtolemy on July 20, 2009, 08:38:40 am
Nobody in the whole room thought to bring a bow of his own, or even throwing knives?

For that matter, why wouldn't somebody try throwing his sword up at the balcony? No telemachus in the way, and less chance of being decapitated.

At least one shot of Odysseus braining a would-be archer would really help retain suspension of disbelief.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Technomad on July 20, 2009, 12:51:34 pm
In general, the ancient Greeks were not good archers.  Paris, in The Iliad, is derided because he's an archer, instead of standing up toe-to-toe with the likes of Achilles.  Odysseus' archery might be explained by his being from a border area of Greece. 

Also, nobody was expecting real trouble. 
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on July 20, 2009, 01:51:05 pm
Besides the above, bows are distance weapons. used for hunting or war, not for self-defense.  They'd bring one to a drinkup in a closed room why?  For self-defense you bring a knife, a sword or an ax.

- Grant
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on July 22, 2009, 08:30:57 pm
Considering how many different factions were trying to become the next king, I would have thought that at least a few of them would have had enough foresight that there might be a conflict to have been dressed in full body armor and carrying a good sword and shield.  I see some swords and knives but nothing else.  L. Neil once described life as an intelligence test, looks like they flunked.  ;D
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: illern on July 27, 2009, 03:54:37 am
I agree, they flunked. I guess though that they was expecting all struggle to be of a more civil form like boxing/wrestling/pankration on the palestra, by gifts and so on. Also I think that one point of the story was to tell that Odysseus was thinking outside the box and maybe one needs to show off the competitors as less creative than they might be in a real life situation.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on July 27, 2009, 10:33:35 am
Illern:  Your right in that they weren't considering what ended up happening.  If they thought it was going to be more civil then they should have had some of their armed supporters hidden just down the street from the building with one unarmed man just outside to listen for sounds of fighting who then could have had gone and warned them.  Oh well too late now.  ;D
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on July 28, 2009, 01:28:35 pm
Illern:  Your right in that they weren't considering what ended up happening.  If they thought it was going to be more civil then they should have had some of their armed supporters hidden just down the street from the building with one unarmed man just outside to listen for sounds of fighting who then could have had gone and warned them.  Oh well too late now.  ;D

I suspect after ten years of little more than drink-ups and a civil understanding of not hacking each other up that they probably didn't expect much trouble, even if Penelope was supposed to be making a decision...  By that point, how many of them would even have thought they legitimately had a chance?  They'd've hung around just for the free booze and the party...

- Grant

Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on July 29, 2009, 09:35:11 am
There were enough of them that one faction couldn't expect to come in armed and armored and slaughter the rest. So they were reasonably safe from each other. Somebody who did come in armed and armored would look paranoid and maybe scary, and might cause trouble for himself.

They did have enough knives etc to handle little personal duels if those happened to come up.

Then they found themselves facing a very small group of attackers who won by tricks. And the doors were barred against them so they couldn't run away.

I read a retelling of the story where a family of the roughest suitors noticed that the ceremonial weapons and shields had been removed from the wall, and they thought that over and left before the fighting. That story was told by a princess named Nausicaa who went through something kind of similar and then insisted that Homer help her create the story....

The story might have been _Homer's Daughter_ by Robert Graves, but I just looked at the first couple of pages of that online and it looked entirely unfamiliar.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Trico on August 07, 2009, 10:28:21 am
The ancients supposed that no success was distinguished or secure unless they defeated their adversary by bravery in open battle. For this reason they actually agreed among themselves not to use hidden or long-range missiles against each other, and they considered that only hand-to-hand, close-range combat counted as a true trial. Hence they gave each other notice in advance of wars and battles, where they proposed to make their stand and where they would march out in battle formation.

This shows that the greeks saw no honour in ranged combat; a true warrior would test his mettle in hand-to-hand combat, looking straight into their opponent's eyes.

With other words; bows are for cowards ^^ (or for smart-asses who didn't believe in traditions and conformity, such as Oddyseus the rebel ;) )
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 08, 2009, 02:30:11 am
The ancients supposed that no success was distinguished or secure unless they defeated their adversary by bravery in open battle. For this reason they actually agreed among themselves not to use hidden or long-range missiles against each other, and they considered that only hand-to-hand, close-range combat counted as a true trial. Hence they gave each other notice in advance of wars and battles, where they proposed to make their stand and where they would march out in battle formation.

This shows that the greeks saw no honour in ranged combat; a true warrior would test his mettle in hand-to-hand combat, looking straight into their opponent's eyes.

With other words; bows are for cowards ^^ (or for smart-asses who didn't believe in traditions and conformity, such as Oddyseus the rebel ;) )

You've read too many Darkover novels, there was no compact about distance weapons, the ancient Greeks had no qualms over killing from distance, but goatherders rarely develop skill as archers.  And while I'm a very good archer (not Olympic grade, but a human torso is a huge target), I prefer firearms.  Yeah, I also carry a knife for close work, but the idea is to avoid close work.  (As a wise man said, a pistol is to distract the other guy until you can reach your rifle).  F u c k honour.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on August 08, 2009, 01:40:00 pm
I agree.  If the other guy has a BB gun, I want a 45acp pistol, if he's got a .45 then I want a shotgun, and if he has a shotgun then I want a main battle tank.  There's only one rule in combat and that is that is to kill the other guy as quickly as you can so he doesn't have the chance to kill you.  Anything else is rubbish.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on August 10, 2009, 03:13:33 am
Yes, however....

there was a tradition about fighting that was of course not always followed. You get a couple of guys who have these big oxhide shields, and they have dinky bronze knives or spears. Hard to hit somebody when he's standing behind that shield. The time he's particularly open is when he's trying to hit you.

So you stand there and sass each other, you come up with great insults, and if you can get him so mad that he attacks without thinking then you've got him. I think this might be where part of the legendary greek talent for invective comes from.

Or if you're super-strong and you can punch through the shield nobody else can, or toss yours down and grab his away from him, etc -- it doesn't have to follow the script. But the default is you stand there in the sun waiting to see who can best take advantage when somebody chooses to do something risky....

Or you can have a bow. An archer can't hold a shield while he shoots, so he has to stand back. His arrows will mostly bounce off a shield or maybe stick in it. So your enemy is walking toward you, and you shoot and fall back, shoot and fall back, and maybe you'll get just the right shot and you'll hit him. If somebody else is fighting him maybe you can get behind him. But if somebody else is fighting him you could do that with a sword and shield too.

I get the impression that a bow was a specialty weapon. It might come in real handy. A bowman might injure or kill more than his share of opponents. But it was maybe considered unlikely to be decisive.

Similarly with slings. You're about to fight, and your slingers throw rocks at the other guys, and their slingers throw rocks at you, and maybe some guys on both sides get knocked out or get ringing headaches or a few of them might even be killed. Maybe one side gets a signficant advantage that way. Then the real fighters get close enough to make that impractical, and the slingers either stand aside or pick up their swords and shields and join in, and the real fight starts.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on August 10, 2009, 08:58:45 am
Every weapon has it's own advantages and disadvantages.  That's why you need to have a combination of short, medium and long range weapons to really be effective.  If you have a roman short sword and a axe for example someone can stand off out of the range of your weapons and take you down with a bow and some arrows.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on August 10, 2009, 01:57:10 pm
Sure, but if you have an axe and armor or a good shield, the guy with the bow and arrows can't keep you from going where you want to. Other things equal he can outrun you, but he can't stop you until he gets a lucky shot. If he wants to stop you from burning down his house he needs a better method.

Of course if you can shoot an arrow hard enough to punch through the armor, then you win. And if nobody else can string your bow there's a good chance you hit harder....

I've seen the claim that various armies were deficient in ranged weapons throughout antiquity. Particularly they were deficient in mobile ranged weapons, bowmen on horses. The romans were deficient that way, they had occasional auxiliaries with slings or bows, but they didn't do much of that themselves. Some of their most spectacular defeats came facing enemies that had adequate archers.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on August 11, 2009, 02:38:33 pm
Maybe.  The problem of shields is that one hefty enough to be a good defense against arrows - given their velocity and form, arrows have been known to puncture shields, and if you raise a shield against arrows raining down on you from above, that makes your chest a pretty good target for arrows shot at eye level; the best use of a shield against arrows is to duck and cover, but that effectively immobilizes you for the duration, so even with a shield arrows get kind of problematic - is difficult to move quickly in close-in combat.  A fairly light shield can be fairly effective against close-combat weapons, especially if they're used to deflect rather than absorb blows, but the lighter the shield the more susceptible it is to puncture from arrow shots, which can have considerably more velocity than sword or knife shots.

The problem of armor is the same.  To be functional, it has to be fairly light or it slows down your movements, not to mention quickly wears you out, to the point where you're a sitting duck.  But the lighter the armor the less protection it is...

Bowmen on horses were a Persian specialty, as I recall.  It's difficult to get good aim from any moving platform with any distance weapon, unless it's powerful enough that a near miss is equivalent to a hit, like with a fragmenting mortar or a nuke.  The more precise the weapon, say an arrow, the more difficult the shot.  It's hard enough to get good aim from a distance weapon when standing still...

- Grant
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on August 11, 2009, 09:13:18 pm
Two things.  One if all I had was a bow and someone was approaching me with a sword and shield, the smart thing to do would be to aim at their legs that weren't covered by the shield.  That way their mobility is severely limited and I can keep backing up enough to be out of the range of their weapons.  Put a dozen arrows in their legs and they either bleed to death or die when they can no longer move their legs and body.
Bowmen on horses were a Persian specialty, as I recall.  It's difficult to get good aim from any moving platform with any distance weapon, unless it's powerful enough that a near miss is equivalent to a hit, like with a  The more precise the weapon, say an arrow, the more difficult the shot.  It's hard enough to get good aim from a distance weapon when standing still...

Probably the best horseback archers of all time were the Mongols.  They had laminated bows of tremendous draw strength.   I read about them in a science fiction series out years ago called "Cross Time Engineer" that I found somewhat enjoyable even though it was clear that the author had european socialist tendancies.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on August 12, 2009, 12:03:08 am
Two things.  One if all I had was a bow and someone was approaching me with a sword and shield, the smart thing to do would be to aim at their legs that weren't covered by the shield.

The main reason you don't aim at legs with bow & arrow is that big things are easier to hit than little things.  Legs are spindly compared to torsos.  Not that they're impossible to hit, but you want to up your odds in the brief time you have while someone's closing the distance between you.  If you have the time, the best strategy is what I suggested in my prior message: shoot into the air to hit them from above, and when they raise their shields to defend against that, shoot them through the chest or gut.

Of course, if someone with a sword is coming toward you, he doesn't have distance weapons, and you don't want to engage directly, your optimal choice is to run.

If you've got a machine gun and a clear shot at your opponent's ankles, sure, spray those suckers and that bad boy will drop in one hell of a lot of pain.

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Probably the best horseback archers of all time were the Mongols.  They had laminated bows of tremendous draw strength.   I read about them in a science fiction series out years ago called "Cross Time Engineer" that I found somewhat enjoyable even though it was clear that the author had european socialist tendancies.

The Mongols were almost undoubtedly the best, though many North American Indian tribes, notably the Sioux and Apache, became extremely good horseback archers in a surprisingly short period of development.  If they hadn't been up against pistols, rifles, shotguns and gatling guns the story of the West might have had a considerably different ending.

- Grant
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on August 12, 2009, 12:07:07 am
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The problem of shields is that one hefty enough to be a good defense against arrows - given their velocity and form, arrows have been known to puncture shields, and if you raise a shield against arrows raining down on you from above, that makes your chest a pretty good target for arrows shot at eye level; the best use of a shield against arrows is to duck and cover, but that effectively immobilizes you for the duration, so even with a shield arrows get kind of problematic - is difficult to move quickly in close-in combat.

Well, but their bows weren't all that good. When they had a lot of bowmen they could have arrows raining down from above and maybe straight in both -- but if the target is in range for a straight shot then an up-and-down arrow comes pretty much straight down and can't be aimed. That's for armies with lots of archers and a giant surplus of arrows.

Again, I claim that for that time and place archers were usually not the deciding factor. You get armies formed up, ready to attack, and the archer on each side cause some casualties on the other side. Then they get close enough to fight and the archers mostly take a break -- they don't aim well enough to pick out the individual enemy soldiers who're fighting their own guys hand-to-hand. What was usually decisive for big battles was something happening to make one side think they'd lost. They throw down anything heavy and try to run away. Then the winning army chases them and hits them from behind, and the cavalry trots out and heads them off, and herds them into little clots that will surrender and be taken slave, and it's a victory.

Usually the archers didn't make that much difference. They caused some casualties for both sides. But very occasionally they were the deciding factor.

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Bowmen on horses were a Persian specialty, as I recall.  It's difficult to get good aim from any moving platform with any distance weapon....

Yes. But bowmen who could move to where they were needed turned into an important innovation, later. If they can shoot from a horse that's standing still, good. If they can dismount and shoot and later mount up and move, that's good enough. Then they don't need as much protection because often they can get out of the way. They can concentrate fire on short notice.

That was repeated in the US civil war. A man with a horse and two revolvers could quickly get into position, dismount, and then deliver 12 shots in the time a rifleman could shoot once. Sometimes a platoon of those guys were worth more than an infantry regiment that wasn't quite in the right spot. Those guys could plug holes while they lasted.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on August 12, 2009, 12:27:39 am
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Two things.  One if all I had was a bow and someone was approaching me with a sword and shield, the smart thing to do would be to aim at their legs that weren't covered by the shield.

That does make sense. If you can hit him in the eye, even better. But one shot in an unarmored ankle would probably be enough that he couldn't chase you.

On the other hand, my main priority would be to not get caught. As long as you have someplace to run, he can't hurt you if he can't catch you. So you shoot at him and he runs at you, and you run and then shoot again and he runs at you, and if you take too much time on your shots he's going to catch up and then you're in trouble. But if you shoot too quickly you're more likely to miss. Better to run at an easy pace while he tires himself out, and shoot at him when he's panting enough he can't catch you.

On the other hand, if you have a home and/or a family, he can go after those and then it's up to you to stop him. You can't run, you have to hurt him before he reaches her....

In theory, it sort of seems like archers should have won. The whole medieval age should have gone differently, quiet sneaky archers could easily beat armored knights in the woods, and on the roads, and turned the walled fortresses into prisons for the authoritarians. But it just didn't happen. Robin Hood survived only in the welsh swamps. Maybe the woods just didn't provide enough food for nearly enough archers to live on. Maybe archery took too much training.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on August 12, 2009, 01:13:57 pm
SD I'm going to have to disagree with you.  Many years ago when I went to college down in southern Indiana I took my bow down there to practice with.  I practiced enough to be pretty damn good by the time I left.  The archery building was just an old corrigated metal barn with several dozen bales of hay for a backstop.  I could hit about 9 times out of ten a six inch diameter balloon from 35 feet away and half the time when a balloon was swinging on the end of a rope at that distance.  Now just imagine someone who didn't practice just 3 times a week like I did but continously as if their life depended on it (which it would).  There was a television show recently on called "deadliest warrior"  One guy who was an expert was putting his arrows into eye sockets from about 50 feet.  Compared to that legs are a mighty big target.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on August 12, 2009, 03:50:31 pm
SD I'm going to have to disagree with you.  Many years ago when I went to college down in southern Indiana I took my bow down there to practice with.  I practiced enough to be pretty damn good by the time I left.  The archery building was just an old corrigated metal barn with several dozen bales of hay for a backstop.  I could hit about 9 times out of ten a six inch diameter balloon from 35 feet away and half the time when a balloon was swinging on the end of a rope at that distance.  Now just imagine someone who didn't practice just 3 times a week like I did but continously as if their life depended on it (which it would).  There was a television show recently on called "deadliest warrior"  One guy who was an expert was putting his arrows into eye sockets from about 50 feet.  Compared to that legs are a mighty big target.

No matter how much practice you've had, the more a target moves the greater the likelihood of a miss - if they're anticipating arrow attack.  If someone's moving in a steady, predictable way - say, an armored man trudging down a dirt road, or a balloon swinging on the end of a rope - the odds of getting a hit rise considerably.  If moving unexpectedly from cover to cover, sure, a highly trained, experienced archer still stands a pretty good chance of hitting a target, but ambush is still your best way to steer the odds strongly in your favor.  I'm assuming the guy who put his arrows in eye sockets at 50 ft (which isn't especially far off, if the target's running in your direction; that's ten or fewer steps away at full run, and guys with knives have been known to murder guys with pistols from that distance by closing the gap before they can get the range... or did you mean 50 yards?) wasn't putting them in the eye sockets of erratically moving targets.

Still, a very experienced - dare we say, virtually mythical - archer attacking, from a height, a closed room tightly packed with men who have not much room to move and panicking in the face of ambush has a pretty good shot at murdering a decent number of them.  Say... 300?  (I'm surprised no one has mentioned that in the Odyssey the number of suitors is considerably less, but I wanted to balance out the number of Helen's suitors with the number of Penelope's, since the two events are sort of the bookends of Odysseus' story...)

- Grant
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: illern on August 13, 2009, 07:50:40 am
SD I'm going to have to disagree with you.  Many years ago when I went to college down in southern Indiana I took my bow down there to practice with.  I practiced enough to be pretty damn good by the time I left.  The archery building was just an old corrigated metal barn with several dozen bales of hay for a backstop.  I could hit about 9 times out of ten a six inch diameter balloon from 35 feet away and half the time when a balloon was swinging on the end of a rope at that distance.  Now just imagine someone who didn't practice just 3 times a week like I did but continously as if their life depended on it (which it would).  There was a television show recently on called "deadliest warrior"  One guy who was an expert was putting his arrows into eye sockets from about 50 feet.  Compared to that legs are a mighty big target.

Still 50 feet ain't that much when your opponent are charging you. The roman warriors usally already had thrown their pila at that distance and was running against the enemy. How many of them will each archer get while they are runing 50 feet? Two? Then the rest will be over you like something very bad. Army formations were usally in hoplit formations eight people deep and the romans had numbers like that too. 50 feet ain't far to run even if you have a heavy shield if you are in good condition.

Of course, the next time it might be hard to convince your hoplite or legionaries to attack the archers a second time since they lost a lot of people. Therefore you get som archers for your self and maybe you bring a pila to throw on the enemy. Also it propably is hard to convince the archers to stand still and shoot at the charging hoplites or legionaries since they too lost a lot of people when the hoplites/legionaries reached them. Maybe they demand that other close combat warriors take the close combat fight.

Warfare isn't totally comparable to one on one situations or shooting a bow without getting disturbed by arrows from the enemy, charging warriors and so on.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on August 13, 2009, 09:06:35 pm
SD:
     This is a lot like the argument that I hear from time to time about using a .22lr pistol or rifle for self defence purposes.  It is absolutely true that bullet (or arrow) placement is absolutely critical but it is also true that with practice an average person can develop enough skill to turn a minor caliber weapon into something lethal.  I remember reading about a South African farm woman who's husband was in town getting supplies when four terrorists armed with AK-47 showed up at the farm.  All she could grab was her .22lr pistol which she practiced all the time with, killing snakes and such.  By the time her husband got back all four terrorists were dead.  She moved from farm building to farm building and shot each one in the head.
     The argument that your making is true.  I just don't think that your giving enough credit to a skilled archers ability to stay out of  sword range and deliver arrow shots to the swordsman legs, weakening him until he's handicapped and easy prey to the archer.
Illern:  You make a good point about the swordsman rushing the archer, but it was my belief that we were speaking about a single archer and single swordsman that was not involved in a hidden ambush either way.  Obviously if the swordsman and archer each rounded a building corner, saw each other at a distance of say 3 feet, it's game over for the archer.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on August 13, 2009, 10:20:13 pm
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Now just imagine someone who didn't practice just 3 times a week like I did but continously as if their life depended on it (which it would).  There was a television show recently on called "deadliest warrior"  One guy who was an expert was putting his arrows into eye sockets from about 50 feet.


I think your argument makes sense. The reasons I think it might not be completely true are that first the bows of the time were not very good, and second there wouldn't be all that many archers who got that much practice.

If it's a big war, the majority of the soldiers will be farmers who're fighting because they have to, who hope to get home in time for sowing or harvesting or whatever. They are not full-time archers or full-time swordsmen. They might prefer to use a weapon that's like a flail or a pitchfork etc, something they've spent a lot of time doing. Without highly efficient agriculture you can't afford to keep a lot of full-time archers. Your best archers will be people who do it full-time for their regular work, killing vermin or game or something, and you won't have a whole lot of them either.

But if their job is to harass an army before the close-in fighting, then it doesn't matter so much. They generally get the range, and then they shoot as fast as they can without aiming a whole lot. If they did aim they'd run the risk of aiming at the same target.... So they start shooting at their maximum range, and they keep shooting until the armies are close enough there's too  much chance they'll hit their friends.They don't have to be very good.  There have to be enough of them.

If it's a personal thing, then as illern points out 50 feet is not very far, you get one or maybe two shots. If you're good enough to get three superb aimed shots in that time, you're definitely good enough to win.  You do better if you have somebody to fend the other guy off. But while they're fighting it's risky for you to get your shot in, you might hit your friend instead.  And if your enemy brought a friend then maybe your friend can hold them both off, or maybe one of them gets around him and goes after you, and maybe he has a bow too....

It doesn't look like archery provides a definite win. It's one more tool in the toolbox.

In the two examples in this story, the archer defending Helios's cows and Odysseus himself, both times the archer got to threaten guys who were having a party, rather than guys who were expecting to face a big fight. That had to make a difference. Also, both times the archer was very very good. And Odysseus, with a bow that nobody else could string, presumably had a far more powerful bow than usual and he himself was strong enough to use it.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on August 14, 2009, 02:38:56 am
This is a lot like the argument that I hear from time to time about using a .22lr pistol or rifle for self defence purposes.  It is absolutely true that bullet (or arrow) placement is absolutely critical but it is also true that with practice an average person can develop enough skill to turn a minor caliber weapon into something lethal.

With a .22?  If they've had practice and luck.  My father taught me that if I someone was ever charging me and all I had was a .22 handgun (a rifle will get pretty useless as a self-defense weapon if they get very close) I should aim for the chest and empty every bit of ammo I've got into them because unless you're lucky enough to hit an artery or vital organ a standard .22 bullet generally doesn't do stopping damage.  Matter of fact, I know of a case when I was living in NYC where a guy was shot in the head with a .22 handgun from close range, and the bullet struck his skull and traveled along the edge of the skull, leaving a crease in the skin of his scalp along the way, and exited out the other side of his head, but all he got out of it was a ridge in his scalp and a bad headache.  Then again, most bullets, unless they're hollowpoints or frangibles, are going to have greater effect the farther from the target they're shot, because the farther they have to go, within reason, the more air pressure will flatten them out and the more damage they'll do on entry.  At very short distances, the entry wound will barely be bigger than the starting size of the bullet, so you're back to hoping for arteries or vital organs, so you definitely don't want a .22 shell then.  That's why knives are usually deadlier than bullets at very close range (presuming your target isn't just going to stand there and let you choose your shot), because the resultant wounds are generally bigger and more serious.

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I remember reading about a South African farm woman who's husband was in town getting supplies when four terrorists armed with AK-47 showed up at the farm.  All she could grab was her .22lr pistol which she practiced all the time with, killing snakes and such.  By the time her husband got back all four terrorists were dead.  She moved from farm building to farm building and shot each one in the head.

Well, she was either a very good shot, very lucky or those guys were just flaming idiots with next to no training.  They sound like the villain's henchmen in Hollywood action films who go with M-16s blazing against a guy armed only with a pen knife and manage not to hit him...

Wait, they still have terrorists in South Africa?

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The argument that your making is true.  I just don't think that your giving enough credit to a skilled archers ability to stay out of  sword range and deliver arrow shots to the swordsman legs, weakening him until he's handicapped and easy prey to the archer.  You make a good point about the swordsman rushing the archer, but it was my belief that we were speaking about a single archer and single swordsman that was not involved in a hidden ambush either way.  Obviously if the swordsman and archer each rounded a building corner, saw each other at a distance of say 3 feet, it's game over for the archer.

Even if they're facing off at 50 feet, say, the archer really depends at that point on the swordsman making himself a willing target.  The archer has one shot, and then the question is whether he can draw an arrow, nock the bow, draw the bowstring and let fly before the swordsman hacks him into beefsteak tartar.  If the swordsman has any training in defense against an archer, the archer's best bet is still to forget the duel and get the hell out of there.  An archer could certainly keep out of sword range if he wanted to, and presumably could run faster than the swordsman, but he'd still have to slow down and turn to shoot an arrow, which would narrow the gap a little every time he did it, and your scenario assumes the swordsman isn't taking any defensive measures of his own besides holding up his shield.  Odds are pretty good you're not the first guy to have thought of that ankle thing...

- Grant
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on August 14, 2009, 11:22:20 am
Well, she was either a very good shot, very lucky or those guys were just flaming idiots with next to no training.  They sound like the villain's henchmen in Hollywood action films who go with M-16s blazing against a guy armed only with a pen knife and manage not to hit him...
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All three SD, all three.  Like I said before she practiced on snakes (they move around a lot), she had more than her share of luck that day and three the training that comes with being a communist terrorist in Africa usually is pathetic at best.  They're usually only trained to fire the AK, field strip and clean it, and lay antipersonnal and vehicle mines.  What they don't have in training though is usually more than made up in savagery.

Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on August 15, 2009, 03:21:14 am
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My father taught me that if I someone was ever charging me and all I had was a .22 handgun (a rifle will get pretty useless as a self-defense weapon if they get very close) I should aim for the chest and empty every bit of ammo I've got into them because unless you're lucky enough to hit an artery or vital organ a standard .22 bullet generally doesn't do stopping damage.

The advice I got was stick it in their stomach, aim upward, and shoot every bullet you have. Then if you get the chance you might as well hit them in the face with it.

I've never had the need to try that, so I can't vouch for it myself.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on August 15, 2009, 10:07:12 am
A .22lr is plenty lethal with the right bullet placement.  During the second world war, Korean war and Vietman an awful lot of enemy sentries would be taken out by silencer equipped Colt Woodsmans shot by properly trained American troops.  Even today, Chinese and American spies use the .22lr to kill their targets (also known as "wet work").  I imagine that if gun silencers had not been invented then we might be using small hand held crossbows.  Again, bullet placement is critical.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on August 15, 2009, 01:19:26 pm
A .22lr is plenty lethal with the right bullet placement.  During the second world war, Korean war and Vietman an awful lot of enemy sentries would be taken out by silencer equipped Colt Woodsmans shot by properly trained American troops.  Even today, Chinese and American spies use the .22lr to kill their targets (also known as "wet work").  I imagine that if gun silencers had not been invented then we might be using small hand held crossbows.  Again, bullet placement is critical.

A pencil is lethal with the right placement.  The placement is the hard part.  Especially with silencers, which affect the course of the bullet and throw off distance aim.

And, yes, .22s are used as murder weapons, but .9mm or .10mm are generally preferred these days for a good combo of concealable 'get the job done' power, and if anyone's planning to kill themselves, I wouldn't recommend a .22 since without knowing exactly what you're doing as the odds of a semi-vegetative state rather than death are pretty good.

- Grant
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Rocketman on August 15, 2009, 06:31:51 pm
A pencil is lethal with the right placement.  The placement is the hard part.  Especially with silencers, which affect the course of the bullet and throw off distance aim.
And, yes, .22s are used as murder weapons, but .9mm or .10mm are generally preferred these days for a good combo of concealable 'get the job done' power, and if anyone's planning to kill themselves, I wouldn't recommend a .22 since without knowing exactly what you're doing as the odds of a semi-vegetative state rather than death are pretty good.
- Grant
A properly constructed silencer doesn't throw off the bullet as much as you seem to think  S.D.  Remember we're not talking about hundreds of yards, we're talking about feet.  9mm pistols (but not 10mm to my knowledge) are used to eliminate sentries and such but since the bullet is leaving the barrel at supersonic speed it becomes much more difficult to properly silence it.  The H&K subgun has a variant in 10mm but I doubt if it's ever been commerically equipped with a silencer because it also is a supersonic round.  There are 9mm rounds that are subsonic and are used largely for  "wet work".
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on August 16, 2009, 11:28:37 pm
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I imagine that if gun silencers had not been invented then we might be using small hand held crossbows.

Definitely. There was a secret WWII program to make small crossbows for that purpose, and then after all the secrecy FDR put up a display in the white house to impress his friends. In 1948 israeli terrorists used small crossbows to take out british sentries, which to my mind says that maybe their access to US military secrets goes back that far.

This is all hearsay. I read it in a book.

I can imagine that one of the advantages of small silenced handguns (extremely accurate -- they shoot the direction you point them) for spy-type things is that they are more common. If by some unlikely accident a small handgun is found you might be able to talk your way out. "My wife is nervous and I got it for her, I forgot I had it." It might work. But if somebody finds you with a concealable high-tech crossbow they will be *interested*.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on August 17, 2009, 01:43:04 pm
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If by some unlikely accident a small handgun is found you might be able to talk your way out. "My wife is nervous and I got it for her, I forgot I had it." It might work. But if somebody finds you with a concealable high-tech crossbow they will be *interested*.

You might have a bit of trouble if someone finds you with a silenced pistol, since pistols don't come with silencers and have to be specially tooled for them, meaning even if you manage to ditch your silencer the pistol will still have pretty noticeable grooves for screwing the silencer on.  If the silencer doesn't attach tightly it won't muffle the sound enough to matter.  Matter of fact, silencers aren't all that silent, certainly nothing like the popular "puh" of film and TV.  It sounds more like the sound you get when you slam your bare palm hard onto your bare chest, loud enough that if you're going up against several people the others will notice when you whack the first one if they're anywhere near.  It doesn't sound like a gunshot - a silencer soaks up reverb and volume - but it's far from silent.

But if your pistol is ridged for a screw-on silencer, it's a pretty good indicator you had a silencer, and you'll be assumed to be engaged in murderous criminal activity no matter what your rationale, since, last I checked, silencers are illegal almost everywhere.  Even in wartime, they don't exactly hand them out; only very special details will have them.  By the way, in most jurisdictions if you have a gun where you're not supposed to be carrying a gun, unless you're in your own home, authorities don't really much care what your excuse is, unless you're rich or famous but not a rapper.

- Grant
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on August 17, 2009, 01:50:38 pm
A properly constructed silencer doesn't throw off the bullet as much as you seem to think  S.D.  Remember we're not talking about hundreds of yards, we're talking about feet.  9mm pistols (but not 10mm to my knowledge) are used to eliminate sentries and such but since the bullet is leaving the barrel at supersonic speed it becomes much more difficult to properly silence it.  The H&K subgun has a variant in 10mm but I doubt if it's ever been commerically equipped with a silencer because it also is a supersonic round.  There are 9mm rounds that are subsonic and are used largely for  "wet work".

A professionally tooled silencer won't affect aim all that much, but an amateur job, even a good one, increases odds of deflection.  If you're close enough to ensure a good shot you're close enough to use a combat knife, which is more silent, more accurate and generally less bloody.

There are no commercially available silencers, are there?

- Grant
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on August 18, 2009, 06:42:56 am
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By the way, in most jurisdictions if you have a gun where you're not supposed to be carrying a gun, unless you're in your own home, authorities don't really much care what your excuse is, unless you're rich or famous but not a rapper.

Sure. But despite everything, you have a decent chance. People who don't trigger alarms often don't get a close look, and when the gun is the first alarm they have a good chance to get by with a warning. It happens a whole lot.

Particularly for women, and if you're doing that sort of thing and you don't have a woman to carry the weapon most of the time, what's wrong with you?

A small handgun is less conspicuous than a knife, and often it's visually less conspicuous when used. With underpowered bullets and used at point-blank range it isn't loud. If you have to use it at any distance then things have gone seriously wrong already. Sure, a good knife is just about as good. Probably better in places where handguns aren't that common, outside the USA and colombia and warzones.

Wouldn't you want a silencer on a sniper's weapon, something with a telescopic lens and maybe a laser sight, to make it harder for people nearby to notice that something is happening? I don't see that silencers are all that useful or important for small handguns, and on the other hand the accuracy shouldn't be an issue for them. "An accurate handgun is one that shoots in the direction you point it."

Anyway, I'm very happy for all this to be a theoretical issue for me. I don't currently own any firearms of any sort, being married to a woman who doesn't trust herself to have one available. I don't miss it. I noticed that -- speaking only for myself and my own life -- each situation I got into where it seemed wiser to carry a gun, it seemed wiser still to just stay away.
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: SDGrant on August 18, 2009, 01:43:52 pm
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Sure. But despite everything, you have a decent chance. People who don't trigger alarms often don't get a close look, and when the gun is the first alarm they have a good chance to get by with a warning. It happens a whole lot.

But it depends on so many random variables - the specific cop, the current security level and whether they know a murder has been committed etc., how closely they look at your weapon and if they choose to confiscate it (which, in most cases, they're supposed to, if it's an unregistered weapon) - that a professional won't leave it to luck if at all possible.

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Particularly for women, and if you're doing that sort of thing and you don't have a woman to carry the weapon most of the time, what's wrong with you?

Could be if you're murdering people in contravention of local law you don't want an accomplice who can sell you out to save her own skin if you're picked up.

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A small handgun is less conspicuous than a knife, and often it's visually less conspicuous when used. With underpowered bullets and used at point-blank range it isn't loud.

You start underpowering the bullets in your .22 pistol and you're back in botched job territory, unless you manage to hit exactly right.  I dunno about conspicuous; I can sheath a fairly large knife to my forearm and if I were wearing a jacket you'd never know it was there.  And you can easily kill someone with a knife much more concealable than that.  A gun's going to be conspicuously bulky no matter where you holster it, unless you're extremely careful about your movements.  It's not difficult to tell when guys are packing heat in a shoulder sling.  I have a nice little belt holster that will keep a .22 pistol (yes, I do have one, a Walther PPKS) pretty neatly hidden in the small of my back under a sports jacket - unless I bend over.

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If you have to use it at any distance then things have gone seriously wrong already. Sure, a good knife is just about as good. Probably better in places where handguns aren't that common, outside the USA and colombia and warzones.

Knives are certainly easier to get in most locales, and at very close range are frequently more lethal than guns.

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Wouldn't you want a silencer on a sniper's weapon, something with a telescopic lens and maybe a laser sight, to make it harder for people nearby to notice that something is happening? I don't see that silencers are all that useful or important for small handguns, and on the other hand the accuracy shouldn't be an issue for them. "An accurate handgun is one that shoots in the direction you point it."

There's accuracy and there's accuracy.  If all you want is to hit your target, sure, the "direction that you point" thing is fine.  But if your intention is to blow apart the vertebrae at the base of your target's skull, putting a bullet through the fleshy edge of their necks an inch west or into their shoulder two inches southeast is a pretty severe lapse of precision, and it doesn't take much variation to alter the path of a bullet.  One problem of silencers is that they screw on and off, so even if tooled properly, and practiced with, if it isn't screwed on exactly as you did it in practice, you're really not shooting the same weapon.  Marksmanship is a precision game, anything that affects precision - even at close range - is dangerous.

As someone pointed out, long distance bullets spend part of their trajectory at supersonic speed, meaning a silencer will be of negligible use, because a silencer only muffles the explosion of the propellant.  An object traveling at supersonic speed will make its own sound, though commonly not until after the bullet has struck.  But that extra sound is enough to determine your general location if someone's paying attention.  And, like I said, silencers aren't nearly as silent as movies and TV make them out to be.  They're like mufflers on a car; they may cut the noise down considerably, but there's still noise.

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Anyway, I'm very happy for all this to be a theoretical issue for me. I don't currently own any firearms of any sort, being married to a woman who doesn't trust herself to have one available. I don't miss it. I noticed that -- speaking only for myself and my own life -- each situation I got into where it seemed wiser to carry a gun, it seemed wiser still to just stay away.

I'd agree with that.  There are a very, very few situations where carrying a gun increases your life expectancy, and generally retreat is the wiser option if it's available.  But "doesn't trust herself to have one available"?  This sounds fascinating, tell me more.  I can see her simply not wanting a gun around, a lot of people don't, but not trusting herself to have one available?  There's a story in there I want to hear.

- Grant
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: J Thomas on August 19, 2009, 12:26:35 pm
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But it depends on so many random variables - the specific cop, the current security level and whether they know a murder has been committed etc., how closely they look at your weapon and if they choose to confiscate it (which, in most cases, they're supposed to, if it's an unregistered weapon) - that a professional won't leave it to luck if at all possible.

The more often you carry it, the more certain that something will eventually go wrong. Having a chance you might get by after an accident is better than having no chance. It's one of the variables to juggle.

"Particularly for women, and if you're doing that sort of thing and you don't have a woman to carry the weapon most of the time, what's wrong with you?"


If it's spy-type stuff, she's on the team. If it's criminal stuff, after the first successful hit she's an accomplice and she has a lot to lose by
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Could be if you're murdering people in contravention of local law you don't want an accomplice who can sell you out to save her own skin if you're picked up.

If it's spy-type stuff, she's on the team. If it's criminal stuff, after the first successful hit she's an accomplice and she has a lot to lose by turning on you. Of course you want a woman who doesn't get too emotionally reactive....

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You start underpowering the bullets in your .22 pistol and you're back in botched job territory, unless you manage to hit exactly right.  I dunno about conspicuous; I can sheath a fairly large knife to my forearm and if I were wearing a jacket you'd never know it was there.  And you can easily kill someone with a knife much more concealable than that.

True. I was thinking about being conspicuous when you use it, but that's potentially manageable.

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If ... your intention is to blow apart the vertebrae at the base of your target's skull, putting a bullet through the fleshy edge of their necks an inch west or into their shoulder two inches southeast is a pretty severe lapse of precision, and it doesn't take much variation to alter the path of a bullet.

When it's all your own initiative, and you decide whether to go ahead or wait for a better chance, look at the choices here. Get in very close and manage with a knife or small handgun, versus try to get them from a distance. At pointblank range your first shot with a handgun is as accurate as your first thrust with a knife. You touch them with the barrel where you want your entry point to be and you pull the trigger.

Try for a larger distance and it's louder, and less accurate, and a silencer makes it less accurate still, and you have a whole lot of tradeoffs. When somebody is shooting at you and you want to shoot back you get no choice about the range. When it's entirely your hit, you do. Then the advantage of a gun over a knife is less, and likely sometimes the knife is better. For example it's easier to get a ceramic knife than a ceramic gun. (My sister's ex-boyfriend had one. He said he had it because he worked for the Department of Agriculture. I didn't understand why a government-issued ceramic handgun wouldn't have a serial number but he assured me it was standard.

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But "doesn't trust herself to have one available"?  This sounds fascinating, tell me more.

No big story. PTSD. She says she has lots of violent fantasies. That's been true of every woman I've ever known well so it doesn't seem like a big deal to me, but she doesn't want to think about what she might do if she had a gun handy. She thinks about suicide sometimes too, which she doesn't admit to anybody but me since it's legally actionable. I've never heard of a mother with three children who didn't think about suicide sometimes....
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: wdg3rd on August 19, 2009, 06:00:42 pm
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I imagine that if gun silencers had not been invented then we might be using small hand held crossbows.

Gun silencers haven't been invented yet.  The correct term is suppressor.
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Definitely. There was a secret WWII program to make small crossbows for that purpose, and then after all the secrecy FDR put up a display in the white house to impress his friends. In 1948 israeli terrorists used small crossbows to take out british sentries, which to my mind says that maybe their access to US military secrets goes back that far.

This is all hearsay. I read it in a book.

I can imagine that one of the advantages of small silenced handguns (extremely accurate -- they shoot the direction you point them) for spy-type things is that they are more common. If by some unlikely accident a small handgun is found you might be able to talk your way out. "My wife is nervous and I got it for her, I forgot I had it." It might work. But if somebody finds you with a concealable high-tech crossbow they will be *interested*.

My own small crossbow is not concealable, but if I was caught with it in New Jersey, (not even concealed, just in my house), it's as bad as having a firearm not listed in Trenton.  New Jersey brags of being the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights, but they certainly don't respect it lately.  Gotta get my ass up to New Hampshire.

Being quiet, my crossbow would be really useful (late at night) if my backyard garden was effective bait.  But we're in the only county in Jersey that isn't overpopulated with antlered rats.  And I really do prefer venison to eggplant.
Title: Only melee weapons
Post by: D.Inife on October 29, 2009, 06:43:45 pm
So from what I hear AoD appears to be going for realisticness as much as possible. If thats true, why would I want to use melee weapons katana, saber, crowbar, etc if my pc will get shot to smithereens before he can close to melee range?

Also, how many shots form a pistol does it take to kill your pc? 2? 4?
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: ravi80k on January 23, 2010, 08:54:55 pm
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My own small crossbow is not concealable, but if I was caught with it in New Jersey, (not even concealed, just in my house), it's as bad as having a firearm not listed in Trenton.  New Jersey brags of being the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights, but they certainly don't respect it lately.  Gotta get my ass up to New Hampshire.

Being quiet, my crossbow would be really useful (late at night) if my backyard garden was effective bait.  But we're in the only county in Jersey that isn't overpopulated with antlered rats.  And I really do prefer venison to eggplant.

I would really like to see a picture of the small crossbow that you are talinkg about.
But in many self defense cases the enemy (or anyone) comes to near, so it is better use a knife or gun (it is too much risky). Crossbow will do good if the target is somewhat far away.
And in addition to crossbow talk, there are crossbow arrows with chemicals/poison, if you want to be the attack lethal then go for poisoned arrow, or else go for a arrow with sleeping drugs or something :)
Title: Re: Only melee weapons?
Post by: Sean Roach on January 24, 2010, 12:13:53 am
You know...Hercules was quite happy with his poisoned arrows...
I think he said something about it shortly after his last visit with one of his drinking buddies.  Some six limbed sage fellow.  Immortal.  Got a patch of starlight out of the deal.