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I just last year ended a useless argument over the importance of logistic with a gentleman from Chicago who claimed that he taught "major strategy courses to Army people."

 

He made the following claim:  

 

1.  The word logistics is never used in Roman writing.

2.  Honor Harrington series demonstrates that logistics is not as important as good generalship.

3.  The Draka series demonstrates that even South Africa could be a world power if it ignored logistics and hired good generals.

4.  "You don't need logistics if your army looses the battle"

 

I claimed he had accidentally inserted a Twinkie in his rectum and its decay had ruined all chance of his evolution into a thinking being.

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"How should we turn our backwater South African whiteocracy into a world power?"   "I know, we can hire generals from the CSA!"   "You mean the people that just got the shit kicked out of them by

I just last year ended a useless argument over the importance of logistic with a gentleman from Chicago who claimed that he taught "major strategy courses to Army people."   He made the following cl

 

3.  The Draka series demonstrates that even South Africa could be a world power if it ignored logistics and hired good generals.

 

"How should we turn our backwater South African whiteocracy into a world power?"

 

"I know, we can hire generals from the CSA!"

 

"You mean the people that just got the shit kicked out of them by the US?"

 

"STOP CLOUDING THE ISSUE WITH FACTS"

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I just last year ended a useless argument over the importance of logistic with a gentleman from Chicago who claimed that he taught "major strategy courses to Army people."

 

He made the following claim:  

 

1.  The word logistics is never used in Roman writing.

2.  Honor Harrington series demonstrates that logistics is not as important as good generalship.

3.  The Draka series demonstrates that even South Africa could be a world power if it ignored logistics and hired good generals.

4.  "You don't need logistics if your army looses the battle"

 

I claimed he had accidentally inserted a Twinkie in his rectum and its decay had ruined all chance of his evolution into a thinking being.

 

Well clearly we should stop focusing on logistics in order to focus on developing clear narrative arcs for our junior officers. As shown by the X-Wing series, units' strategic impact undergoes an unbounded increase as they approach the platonic ideal of an RPG party.

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A British strategic book written early in WW1 estimated that a Army General learned his job based on dead bodies, and created a model that demonstrated this advancement based on the equivalency to masonic orders.  At 15,000 casualties the General was near the middle of his advancement, the author termed this the "sweet spot" as the advance was a bell curve.  Sadly, my theory of Twinkie insertion for suboptimal thinking is broken by this author, as the Twinkie was invented in 1930.

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A British strategic book written early in WW1 estimated that a Army General learned his job based on dead bodies, and created a model that demonstrated this advancement based on the equivalency to masonic orders.  At 15,000 casualties the General was near the middle of his advancement, the author termed this the "sweet spot" as the advance was a bell curve.  Sadly, my theory of Twinkie insertion for suboptimal thinking is broken by this author, as the Twinkie was invented in 1930.

 

He sounds like the sort to leave the wrapper on.

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Europe, Romans, and the Caliphate all had issues with iron in there turns.  

 

In the Caliphate in 985 you have the first chemists coming close to answering why iron mined in one area was superior to others.  Several iron processes from the Caliphate would be developed with local success such as adding various types of wood, puddling, raking, and multiple furnace heating, to get iron ready for end processing.  A sword made in the Caliphate that reached Europe could be worth 25 or 30 mouton d' or whereas a sword from Sheffield would be worth far less, at least in the 13th century.  

 

Paris in the 13th century had to replace execution swords every 2-3 executions because of breakage, and policy required the executioner to have at least five spare swords.  They were forced to use swords made in Nevers or the Cote d' Ventoux, where they were cheaper but the process was inferior.  

 

the Romans used the same sword makers from the 1st century BCE to almost the 14th century CE.

From what I understand, there were also massive quality issues in China, where the quality greatly varies from several factors.

Due to the massive needs for swords, mostly from the army and merchants meant that they had to be mass produced.

This led to two major factors in quality:

1. Ores were delivered to state owned manufacturies from across the empire, meaning that you get significant variances in ores.

2. Due to the large demand for fuels that can generate high temperatures, charcoal was replaced by coal as the main source of fuel for the furnaces, which adds another layer of complexities due to the impurities contained within the coal, especially with the coal coming in from different areas of the empire.

 

This eventually led to Chinese swords having different hardnesses for different parts of the blade, used mostly in the Tang Dynasty where the cutting edges and the tip were made of a higher hardness steel and the body of a lower hardness steel to allow the blade to have a "sharper" blade without the sword breaking on the user. It was eventually dropped because it was deemed too expensive to maintain and replace and was thought to greatly influence the Japanese in their swordmaking as most of the Chinese imports to the Japanese took place during the Tang Dynasty.

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The funny thing about the sword on sword breakage is that blade on blade contact with enough force to break the weapon would be rare. With the exception of certain parries, binds, and blocks, you tend to not want to smack your blades together. 

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Unless you really like ruining an exceedingly expensive piece of kit by turning it into a cut-rate saw.

I guess the tests do reflect a greater likelyhood of breakage overall, they just do it in a dramatic (read: inaccurate) way. Shots of parallel stress and strain testing would be considered boring.

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Movies have kind of given us this impression that sword combat is a couple guys standing  2 feet apart clanking swords together while  landing the random slash until  the epic death blow is delievered by our hero. 

The real thing would be much less exiting to watch. Two combatants at distance, fighter A moves in with a fluid shield bind to fighter Bs' weapon arm and a simultaneous thrust to the throat ends the fight. Maybe B can counter, maybe not but it's usually game over pretty fast. 

You can see how sharp weapons would handle blade contact by just taking a couple of steak knifes and drawing them across each other. They'll bind. If you smack them together, they'll chip. 

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I fight with one the more sought after Europeans smiths Type H broadsword. It''ll bend to 90' fairly easy but I don't think I could force it into a circle. Maybe a longer arming sword could do that. 

 

Everything sword/spear/seax related that I own doesn't go much past the 12th century. 

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IIRC, Caesar mentions the Gauls stamping on their swords to bend them back straight.

 

There was a very good article in Small Arms Defense Journal that covered the advances in metallurgy (e.g. Bessemer converters) that made advances in small arms technology possible.  Has someone done something similar for swords?  I would love to see it.

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IIRC, Caesar mentions the Gauls stamping on their swords to bend them back straight.

 

There was a very good article in Small Arms Defense Journal that covered the advances in metallurgy (e.g. Bessemer converters) that made advances in small arms technology possible.  Has someone done something similar for swords?  I would love to see it.

The version I remember had the Romans doing the bending.

 

In any case, one major advantage of working with iron is that it takes much less physical effort* to beat into shape than steel. Add in processing costs, ductility and the fact that the iron will take on enough carbon as a surface layer to hold a decent edge, and I can see why so many armies ended up using iron gear even when steel manufacture was known.

 

*My impression from working with the stuff is that hot-forging steel takes about the same amount of effort as cold-forging iron. Finishing steel, especially without access to power tools, is also tedious in the extreme.

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Yeah, I have some good friends that are smiths. Smelting and forging without the use of any modern equipment is quite difficult. It reinforces the fact that fancy weapons like swords were rare and expensive but axes and spears were what the average iron age European carried into battle. 

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