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How effective were scrutums in combat?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

    I bet if your life was on the line, you could marshal enough energy to make your opponent uncomfortable.
    Maybe, but my opponent's life is on the line, too. Humans are incredibly hard to kill. From what I've seen, real life ain't like the movies, where a .38 knocks even the biggest dude into cartwheels. Sure, eventually you bleed out, or succumb to shock, but there's a reason the casualty rates in ancient battles are comparatively low until one side is routed and the cavalry ride down the fleeing opponents. I just don't see many people, if anyone, able to walk across the battlefield killing 10s of enemies, each with a single strike, like you see in films, and that's what the initial comment brought to mind- a movie-like strike with the gladius, one dude falls instantly incapacitated, the legionnaire strike with his shield on the back stroke and the next dude crumples, while the third gets knocked out of the fight by an elbow or something as part of the back stroke. There's a reason that formations won over masses of individuals, and I don't think it has to do with the ability to shatter a rib cage with a single blow.

    i recommend Bernard Cornwell's "Last Kingdom" books for what I think are pretty decent descriptions of fighting in a shield wall, even though the closest I've ever come is being on the line of scrimmage in American football.

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    • #17
      One of the things I liked about Roman Infantry formations is they rotated men into the front line and pulled the guys back for a bit of a rest. The enemy was in the Front Line until he died. Fresh men fighting tired men is
      a recipe for success.

      Pruitt
      Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

      by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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      • #18
        I am certain that the most imprortant thing in combat was to keep your scrutum well protected

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        • #19
          Originally posted by 82redleg View Post

          Sure, that makes sense. I'm a pretty big dude, but I don't think I could "shatter a rib cage" with a shield that is light enough to be usable in a fight. Upset balance? Sure, easily.
          Whilst the shield was relativity light it had a big piece of metal in the centre that could deliver a concentrated punch like a mace head.
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post

            I bet if your life was on the line, you could marshal enough energy to make your opponent uncomfortable.
            How often, how long? One more swing of an ax or thrust with a bayonet? The longer it goes the more change you would be on the losing side
            "Ask not what your country can do for you"

            Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

            youíre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post

              How often, how long? One more swing of an ax or thrust with a bayonet? The longer it goes the more change you would be on the losing side
              Make a good point John. Saw a doc of Thermopylae wherein it was noted that the battle was fought in pulses: furious action for a few minutes, followed by a rest period. As in a wrestling match, the two shield walls colliding and pushing and shoving against each other consumes a tremendous deal of energy. The soldiers can only keep that up -- while maintaining cohesion and formation -- for a rather finite period of time. The men will fatigue, but they will not fatigue at a uniform rate. Some men will stay stronger longer than others. As the more fatigued men retire, their stronger comrades' flanks will be exposed to enemy spears and swords. Therefore the officers had to manage those battle pulses, so that as the men tired, they retired in good order, not leaving any of their comrades outside the formation.
              I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                People like to refer to Roman mythology about Large, Tall and Burly Barbarians. Once you got past the first line I bet you found a lot of weedy little fellows that were there to thicken up the Barbarian "Horde". The Roman Auxiliary Infantry did not use the same scutum as the Legions did.

                Pruitt
                I'm not so sure it's myth, if you think about nutrition. Even middle-class Romans didn't eat meat that often, and in particular not in their childhood. Eating meat often was a hallmark of high income, uncommon until the middle and late stages of the Roman civilization, and even then remarked upon as an extravagant luxury. Generally speaking, young Romans ate, guess what, a Mediterranean diet. Yes, that included proteins from fish, cheese, poultry, and beans, but even so probably there were less proteins on the whole than in the young Gauls' and Germans' everyday fare. Romans famously considered their olive oil as superior to the barbarians' butter - which probably is under several respects, but this also indirectly confirms the above. Note that other "savages" enjoying the same conditions - lots of physical exercise, and lots of good meat when young - were the Native Americans living in the plains, and they also were taller than the first Europeans they met.
                Michele

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                  Whilst the shield was relativity light it had a big piece of metal in the centre that could deliver a concentrated punch like a mace head.
                  Well, a mace is swung, while the shield would be thrust forward. Nevertheless, yes, it concentrated the force onto a small surface: it was the umbo, or boss. And since it was in metal, we have archaeological finds.
                  Michele

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Salinator View Post
                    I have a pair of attack scrotums that never ran from a battle.
                    Always "up for it", eh?
                    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post

                      How often, how long? One more swing of an ax or thrust with a bayonet? The longer it goes the more change you would be on the losing side
                      Although a different form of protection, this episode of WTMB talks about fatigue.



                      How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                      Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                      • #26
                        The title makes it sound like England was the only country to use Heavy Armour ,
                        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                        youíre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Michele View Post

                          probably there were less proteins on the whole than in the young Gauls' and Germans' everyday fare...

                          .Note that other "savages" enjoying the same conditions - lots of physical exercise, and lots of good meat when young - were the Native Americans living in the plains, and they also were taller than the first Europeans they met .
                          The diet of the northern European was grain-based with addition of some meat protein from hunted game animals. The cattle and sheep were not kept for meat and only culled in autumn.

                          Given that the Native Americans living on the plains, or rather the plains margins had yet to acquire the horse when the Europeans arrived, I find that second assertion surprising.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by jf42 View Post

                            The diet of the northern European was grain-based with addition of some meat protein from hunted game animals. The cattle and sheep were not kept for meat and only culled in autumn.


                            Given that root crops like turnips which could be used to feed animals through the winter were not grown most of them were killed at the onset of winter and huge amounts of meat eaten either fresh after the slaughter or salted during the course of the winter

                            The German tribes drank large quantities of beer. From analysis of scrapings from ancient containers this was not like modern beers but more like a fermented oatmeal soup and probably packed a lot of calories. The Romans considered this most uncivilised.
                            Last edited by MarkV; 17 Nov 18, 10:53.
                            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                              The title makes it sound like England was the only country to use Heavy Armour ,
                              Anything but......

                              It was the Milanese that seemed to have developed a better heavy armour. Given their input to the Renaissance we can only assume money is involved.
                              How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                              • #30
                                That I understand. My comment was only about the vid. Sort of like America won the war, your pick on which one
                                "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                                Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                                youíre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                                Comment

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