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Weapons Tech

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tkolter
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Weapons Tech

Post by tkolter on Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:23 pm

I have an important question is it assumed older tech commonly known is available for example say I want to give a unit a sling and iron ammunition for it, iron balls, of historical weights would that be assumed available to most cultures where it is or was in use or likely was until better weapons came along like war bows?

Same for armor I would think padded and natural materials armor or armor not complicated to make could be worked up, not plate mail, but ask some crafters to whip up something should be sensible to expect an example leather with iron coin scales and a simple skullcap could be not to hard to whip up but wanted to ask about that to.
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Jason
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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Jason on Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:09 pm

It's not always safe to assume that an older technology is instantly available to a nation, and even if it is you can't be sure of the cost.

Shields are an example. One of the supplements (off top of my head can't remember which one) states that if you're a nation that still uses shields, they cost 1 each to manufacture. However if you're a nation that has abandoned them (say a Western European power) they cost 10 each to manufacture. The argument is that the skills to easily manufacture them have been lost and there is a lot of sense to that-how many modern firearm manufacturers could turn round and turn out a matchlock? How many modern blacksmiths could make s broadsword? (very few I can assure you).

But if you ask Richard, explain the weapon(s) to him, he'll either let you know they are available to you and the costs or might say it is a research breakthrough. I have played China in some games and actually had to research quite a few technologies from earlier times that had been "lost".
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Rozwi_Game10
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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:11 am

Yep, I agree with what Jason says, above.

I would imagine that you'll be told that if you want to make a different pattern shield, for example, it requires the work to be done at an army camp, and any missile weapon construction or body armour needs to be carried out at an arsenal.

Rozwi wanted to change the pattern of its shield construction. I fully explained and drew out a design pattern, the work wasn't revolutionary or difficult, but the method of using the shield - as a weapon of distraction as well as for defence - was revolutionary enough, in the manner of Tribal thinking, that I was told it would require researching into at an academy. Similar to what Jason has said about having to research lost art-forms after they've gone out of practice.

I'd think you'd be okay with slings, after-all a sling is a sling and is still in use today. But the body armour may need to be researched, as you'd be allowed a basic pattern to start with, but, obviously, to improve something it'll need research at an academy, even if its a very quick technological and cultural breakthrough.
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tkolter
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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by tkolter on Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:12 am

Well the GM is supposed to answer I thought but this is what I was curious about.

The two main things I want to make is an armor that was still in use in many parts of the world because it worked Gambeson armor what you would know as cloth padded armor.

At the end it could stop a longbow arrow at very close range.

I figure add a helmet which would be padded and leather with the normal shield it would offer against the bulk of expected regional weapons ample protection for my troops and be not too expensive, now lances and bullets would be an issue, but well I can't give African hot weather troops metal armor. And such armor isn't even for the period odd and it works well and should be easy for clothing makers to craft.

And slings with iron ball ammunition as an option for my levee.

See my plans aren't complicated armor and make sure save for specific unit all troops have a ranged and close combat option with armor as above with weapon additions and there will be drilling done to eventually have a formidable regionally impressive army. Slings might be a good secondary ranged weapon for say swordsman troops to carry with war javelins might as well have flexibility. Of course not all units will be like that.

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Jason
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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Jason on Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:19 pm

An interesting idea Smile One of my hobbies is historical re-enactment, early medieval period, so have worn a gambeson quite a lot. You're right, they are an effective defence when thick enough, esp if you are fighting medieval period weaponry. (oh, bonus points for using an clip involving Mike Loades Smile )

Something to bear in mind though. A heavy duty, thick gambeson is actually remarkably hot to wear, even if just marching, let alone fighting in hot climes. Not as much as wearing platemail or chainmail but Smile
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Rozwi_Game10
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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Sun Oct 21, 2018 1:56 pm

The only armour I got to wear while reenacting was a tin hat! And lugging around .303 magazines for the Bren gun (don't 'hit the dirt' and land on such magazines, it hurts).



Gambeson armour. As Jason mentions, wearing such might prove too hot to use in Africa. The GM will probably green-light the creation and issuing of such equipment, but that the troops wearing such might develop a Sick List status much quicker than usual may be the price to pay. It might be a case that an adviser needs to be consulted and an appropriate academy be ordered to look into effects of gambeson armour being issued. And, possibly, can they improve upon the design to aid its use in hot climes?

Cool idea though. If you'd all pardon the expression.

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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Stuart Bailey on Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:35 am

Not sure if its any help but the DBR Army list for Abyssinian Armies 1494 AD to 1700 AD (published by the Wargames Research Group) says that Abyssinian shields were round and were prized by those who had them. Also that those men who had distinguished themselves in battle had shields embellished with silver or Lions mane. The fact that the Shotel sword of the area was designed to hook over shields would also seem to back up the shield remaining a popular defensive weapon in area were the majority of fighting was not with firearms.

According to this list up just under a 1/3 of the foot in a Abyssinian Army could have firearms (mostly matchlocks), the rest being swordsmen, archers, light skirmishing Javalinmen and the most common troop type or Abyssinian fighter on foot was equiped with a stabbing spear, two or more javalins with the better equiped men having a large round hide shield.

It should probably be noted that firearms and artillery were introduced by a Portugese expedition in 1541-43 who stayed and took local wives
and these troops were famously aggressive. Tactic's tended to to be one volley at very close range followed by a dash to close combat.....more Highland Charge than Dutch platoon fire tactics!

Ref the Cavalry the majority were Shawa and Galla light horse (and famous slave raiders) who riding scubby ponies with simple saddles and the toe loop rather than proper stirrups. Equiped with spears and Javalins a percentage also had shields and some Nobles had mail armour.

From 1636 we have evidence that the Emperor also has a black horse regiment who were Negro Slaves of the Household who large Arab Horses and equipment were imported from Sinnar. They wore black plumed copper helmets, mail shirts and their horses has quilted barding and were armed with a 14 lance and an axe. I assume quilted armour would also be worn under the humans mail.

From this info it seems that in 1700 Abyssinia could produce or import all its war gear at least in limited amounts (Richard often says yes your Arsenal can produce it......but only 700 a month). And its major military problem was the crap quality of its horses compared to some of its possible foes. Unless you import loads of Arab mounts taking on the Mamlukes on the flat is going to hurt!

The other issue (which Richard may have spared you) is that your best Cavalry look very much like a local verion of the Manlukes or the Sipahis of the Porte. In theory Slave Troops should be loyal and devoted to the person of their beloved Emperor........ Suspect

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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:15 am

Yeah, Rozwi was using firearms against the Portuguese in the Zambezi Valley in the 1690s. As soon as people saw how useful black powder weapons were they tended to want to arms themselves with them. I've decided to ignore the trend with my Rozwi, but I fear I am playing in an ahistorical way. Irregular Tribal infantry in loose, open order armed with muskets might work when using asymmetric warfare tactics, but you've got to get that strategy of raiding and ambushing, etc., to work in the game to stand any chance.

What do the neighbouring countries to Abyssinia arm their armies with, and how do they fight battles, does anyone know? If they're all armed with guns and fight using linear tactics, and you turn up to a gun fight with a sword, it might prove interesting...
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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Jason on Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:26 pm

Must admit, have found all the posts fascinating, esp Stuart's as I have no knowledge of Abyssinia at this time Smile

Roy, on gunpowder weapons, I wonder if at this stage the advantage isn't too great at least in Southern Africa? European forces are small and their colonies and bases are mostly small coastal enclaves; I wonder if also gunpowder supplies there are not plentiful so in conflict with native forces, their advantage in numbers (and being used to the conditions) offsets the effect of firearms to a degree? From a Rozwi point of view (I think you might have suggested this elsewhere) a reason to avoid firearms-except on a token level?-could be that it would be difficult for them to ensure a stable supply of gunpowder? Better to keep your forces equipped with, and trained for, weapons they can use and easily resupply rather than weapons that might suddenly go from being firearms to clumsy clubs?
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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:26 pm

Gun powder shortages would have been an issue with prolonged campaigning, from what I've read (not that my reading has been exhaustive). Supply from the Swahili and Indian traders brought black powder to the coast, so there was an accessible supply to purchase since there was no home production. The major firearm supply issue that I've read of (mostly concerning the C19th Zulu however) is that the weapons were outdated or antiquated, poor training meant that they were inaccurately used and maintained, and a major supply issue was with the ball projectiles to fire - supply being so poor on occasion that they had to resort to shooting stones from the muskets, for want of lead shot.

It might be interesting to read up on the Dutch-then-British Cape Mounted Riflemen and see if any records were kept on the ability of the Black troops with musketry practice and use. If so, properly trained and led Black troops using gun powder weapons could be compared against their contemporary Tribal examples in the South, those being not exactly proficient marksmen on the whole from what I know.

Spears are cheaper to buy too

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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Stuart Bailey on Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:13 am


What do the neighbouring countries to Abyssinia arm their armies with, and how do they fight battles, does anyone know? If they're all armed with guns and fight using linear tactics, and you turn up to a gun fight with a sword, it might prove interesting... [/quote]

Proportions of troops varied esp with regard to numbers of firearms and horses/camels but generally speaking Abyssinia's neigbours and foes tended to fight in much the same way as the Abyssinians. Which means everyone showed up with a sword, axe, spear or other close combat of choice inc throwing irons a odd looking multi bladed cross between the a axe and a boomerang.

Since many north african swords have german blades mounted on local hilts and firearms were imported and adopted by both the Ottomans and other African States I assume that the reason why the Pike tactics and later Infantry drill was not adopted by the Ottoman and African powers was due to social and cultural reasons rather than lack of weapons.

Rather than being fired from drilled lines of troops as in Western Europe. Firearms in Africa tended to be used from fortifications/fieldworks or as a skirmish/ambush ranged weapon were their greater "stopping power" esp against men with shields and perhaps armour was valued. Or for the "shock" value just before troops closed with cold steel. In much the same way as European armies in the C16 used these new fangled weapons to gun down their foes best armoured and toughest troops in the front ranks.

Oddly, the only battle in Africa in which shooting seems to have gone on for a long time and witnessed the use of massed firearms was fairly early - El-Ksar el Kebir in 1578. But here many of the "Moroccan" Arquebusiers seem to have been Turks and Andalusian exiles and lack of space to deploy seems to have reduced the part played by the many tribal cavalry. Morocco being a major source of saltpetre would also not have been bothered by shortage of gunpowder like some other parts of Africa.

I do not mean to worry our African and would be African Characters but the free flowing style of warfare in Africa seems to have lead to a emphasis on bodyguards and the death and protection of leaders.
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Rozwi_Game10
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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Rozwi_Game10 on Sat Oct 27, 2018 11:11 am

Guards are in place in my part of Africa. Though I could, perhaps, sort out some personal bodyguards to shadow my chap, and not rely on guards guarding specific areas/locations. Rozwi ambassadors go around with bodyguards while travelling and away from home (to tackle wild animals if nothing else!)

The Changamire will need to host a 'choosing contest' when next at Khami, to pick out some select female guards to shadow him. Some't else to spend some money on (weapons and fancy uniforms).

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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Stuart Bailey on Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:07 pm

Rozwi_Game10 wrote:Guards are in place in my part of Africa. Though I could, perhaps, sort out some personal bodyguards to shadow my chap, and not rely on guards guarding specific areas/locations. Rozwi ambassadors go around with bodyguards while travelling and away from home (to tackle wild animals if nothing else!)

The Changamire will need to host a 'choosing contest' when next at Khami, to pick out some select female guards to shadow him. Some't else to spend some money on (weapons and fancy uniforms).

The Dahomey Amazons were in existence before 1734 and were gun-armed except for scouting bow girls.

But I think the Kings of Dahomey favoured the Amazons over more normal noble guard units not so much due the Amazons being better protection on the battlefield.........but due to being more loyal and less likely to murder them than their own Nobles.

Guess the Pope & the King of France were thinking the same when they employed the Swiss.
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Re: Weapons Tech

Post by Deacon on Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:08 pm


Richard has seldom answered stuff here in the time that I have played. I think the general sense is that questions best asked in game to advisers won't get answered here.

Interesting discussion though!

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