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Which of our ancestors made the most sturdy, and effective battle ready swords

Discussion in 'Weapons and Tactics' started by MadSquabbles500, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. MadSquabbles500 Gold Belt

    MadSquabbles500
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    Which of our ancestors made the most sturdy, effective and battle ready swords? By sturdy, I mean wont break, and effective I mean can still deliver the power necessary to get through countermeasures and do damage.

    Was it the Persians, Romans, Greeks, Franks, Vikings, Japanese, Chinese, Arabs, etc? Did I leave anyone out? I dont know how to post a poll. Feel free though.

    I imagine in battle, your sword is going to smack into a lot of shields, armor, and other metal blades before you meet flesh. I would think that this will either render the sword dull, or shatter it. Both would make the sword pretty useless.

    Therefore, I conclude that the most successful armies and empires had the ability to produce swords and metals that can withstand such punishment and still be effective, and at the same time be able to produce this in such quantity as to give yourself the advantage of superior numbers.

    So who is it? Mongols, and Moslems conquer the largest land empires, but I find it hard to believe they had access to quality of blades. Of course the Mongols are famous for their bow and arrows but still, I am sure they had to have engaged up close every now and then.

    Now this is not about aesthetics. This is purely about effectiveness.
     
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  2. DanTheWolfman.com Brown Belt

    DanTheWolfman.com
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    cool thread, thanks
     
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  3. Tankeraye Yellow Belt

    Tankeraye
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    Ulfhbehrt swords (middle eastern steel forged using Nordic techniques) are considered tough and resilient even compared to modern steels. Can't think of anything that would compare, really.
     
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  4. mb23100 Red Belt

    mb23100
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    Different swords were made with different types of uses or types of battles in mind so its not really a fair question
     
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  5. moonwolf Yellow Card

    moonwolf
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    there is a tv show about this called deadliest warrior. watch it.
     
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  6. Arkhan White Belt

    Arkhan
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    TS is thinking of starting WW3.
     
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  7. Combat Squirrel Blue Belt

    Combat Squirrel
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  8. Codpiece Not afraid to care

    Codpiece
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    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damascus_steel

    An article about Damascus steel which includes information about swords made with the metal. Pretty interesting read, and swords made with such a material would have performed very well in the situations described in the OP (striking armour and enemy swords repeatedly but maintaining a killing edge etc).
     
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  9. PorkPiePusher Loro Piana cashmere belt

    PorkPiePusher
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    I remember reading something about high ranking vikings using steel comparable to Damascus steel, and how they got it through trade.
     
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  10. ironwolf Double Yellow Card

    ironwolf
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    Interesting question, I have no idea of the correct answer but an interesting fact is that when the moseleoum of the win emperor was unearthed in the late 70s (terra cotta army in China), many swords and knives were found which still had razor sharp edges and very little rust because of the coating used....even after being buried for 2000 years.

    I'm not saying the Chinese made the best weapons because I'm sure they didn't but they may have been a bit ahead of the game in regards to durability.
     
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  11. SweetDaddySiki Orange Belt

    SweetDaddySiki
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    All swords break. All swords dull. All swords bend. Swords were consumables.Thats why the really fine swords weren't used in battle. If you were going to fight in battle you took a cheap beater. If it breaks, well, you pick up another off a corpse.

    The fighting ability of your army didn't rely on the sharpness of your swords though. The main fighting weapon of most armies were spears and polearms. Spears are more dangerous, easier to use and much more economical to make.
     
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  12. Higus Silver Belt

    Higus
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    Ulfbehrt swords. It would be difficult to make a significantly much better sword using today's techniques than the Vikings were doing nearly 1000 years ago. The best we could do would be to make them more efficiently using modern machinery.
     
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  13. SweetDaddySiki Orange Belt

    SweetDaddySiki
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    Our steel is incomparably better than anything the ulfbehrt smiths could have made.
     
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  14. thefreeaccount White Belt

    thefreeaccount
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    Roman swords beat Greek spears, with a few exceptions.
     
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  15. SweetDaddySiki Orange Belt

    SweetDaddySiki
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    A vast oversimplification. The advantage the Romans had was a much more flexible tactical structure that allowed the romans to quickly exploit openings and breaks in the Greek lines.

    Spears were called by the King of the Battlefield for a reason. A man with a spear is quite a bit more dangerous than a man with a sword.
     
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  16. Gregolian Bang

    Gregolian
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    Mongols no, they won their battles with horses and short but powerful bows they could use on horseback.

    When I think pristine steel from the time people fought with swords these three come to mind:
    -Ulfberht
    -Japanese katanas and other blades
    -Damascus steel
     
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  17. MadSquabbles500 Gold Belt

    MadSquabbles500
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    But I thought the Romans main killing method was get up close, jam shields together and stab away with gladius.
     
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  18. MadSquabbles500 Gold Belt

    MadSquabbles500
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    I understand spears and shields were probably main weapon of peasant infantry formations but what about a sidearm. Even the Greek Hoplites would carry the xiphos in addition to their dory.

    And then what did mounted knights use then if not their longswords? What about the Samurai.
     
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  19. SweetDaddySiki Orange Belt

    SweetDaddySiki
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    The melee weapon of choice for the knight on foot was a pollaxe. Depending on the era, the melee weapon of choice for a samurai on foot was his Yari. Swords were indeed a sidearm for most troops.
     
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  20. SweetDaddySiki Orange Belt

    SweetDaddySiki
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    I depends on the era. But the Romans would first toss their light pila. Then if they had to, they would charge into the fight, and depending on the foe either use their heavy pila like a spear or their swords. The big thing the romans had was flexible and adaptable set of subunits. They could move much more easily over broken ground, and immediately insert men into breaks in the enemy line.
     
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  21. thefreeaccount White Belt

    thefreeaccount
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    OK, but those flexible, independently maneuvering units were possible because each legionnaire was an complete fighting unit, carrying his own (massive) protection that to some extent nullified the reach advantage of a two-handed spear. Spear walls require relatively static formations; turning is basically impossible and every movement must be carefully coordinated, especially over rough terrain. The Romans demonstrated that most of the time, a well-trained sword/shield force can outmaneuver, flank, or otherwise disrupt the formation of a spear wall.

    During the Phyrric wars, early in their Greek conquest, the Romans did try to attack the Macedonian spear wall head on; naturally, that did not work very well. Also, the legions tended to get wrecked when they had to deal with superior cavalry as they had no defense against mounted enemies.

    Fair enough, but the knight would have been armored and didn't really need a shield. Knights also had no unit-level training and would have been unable to execute any tactic more complicated than 'charge' or 'run away.' Not sure why samurai did not use shields.

    I think that in an unarmored fight, a man with a very large shield and a rapier would have a significant advantage over a man with a two-handed spear. That matchup reminds me of the classic BJJ vs boxer - once the sword/shield guy traps the spear and closes the distance, it's over.

    The spear did remain relevant well into the era of the longbow and even relatively late in the firearms era, with the Swedes nearly taking over Europe with pike-and-shot tactics. The Romans sort of stick out as one of the few ancient armies to successfully use the sword as a primary weapon; furthermore, after the Romans, spears returned to dominance. I think the sword and shield did continue to see use as a primary weapon on the Indian subcontinent into the modern era.
     
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