7 Weapons that changed warfare

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7 Weapons that changed warfare

Post by NomAnor15 » 2007-03-24 03:25pm

http://blog.scifi.com/tech/archives/200 ... _that.html

Obviously other people will have different opinions, but this is a fun read.
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Post by fgalkin » 2007-03-24 03:29pm

I thought the weapons that revolutionized warfare were the machinegun, the tank, the plane, and the rocket.

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Post by Zor » 2007-03-24 03:51pm

Some of them were good, but not all of them were revolutionary, i would list the seven warfare changing weapon as such...

1-Heavy Cavalry
2-Arquebus
2-Modern Artillery (rifled breach loading ballistic shell firing cannons)
4-Maxim Gun
5-Tank
6-Aircraft
7-Nuke

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Post by Raxmei » 2007-03-24 03:58pm

Looks more like a list of weapons the author thinks are cool. He managed to miss the pike.

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Post by mr friendly guy » 2007-03-24 08:34pm

I wouldn't have thought the Trojan horse be considered a "weapon".
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Post by Vendetta » 2007-03-24 09:18pm

There was a TV series on this a while ago. Decisive Weapons, which covered some real weapons that actually did change the nature of warfare in their given field, or proved such a valuable contribution to a given conflict that they left a lasting legacy in warfare.

Their choices:

Stealth Fighter
Samurai Sword
Anti Submarine Warship
Springfield Rifle
Aircraft Carrier
Hawker Hurricane
Harrier
Bayonet
P51 Mustang
Bell Huey
T34

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Post by Adrian Laguna » 2007-03-24 09:47pm

Samurai sword? A weapon that had no impact outside Japan and wasn't even the Samurai's primary armament (that honour belongs to their spear and bow). Hardly revolutionary.

The Springfield 1903 has no place on that list, considering it was a Mauser 1898 rip-off.

How can they mention the anti-submarine ship without mentioning the submarine? I think subs are far more important in changing the nature of warfare than their counter.

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Post by Pelranius » 2007-03-24 10:17pm

I take issue with some of the so called modern day counterparts.

The trojan horse would be be represented by computer viruses/information warfare.

Boiling oil = napalm. Need I say more?

Morning Star: Nail bombs, oh please. Try something like anti personnel canister rounds fire from tanks.
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Post by Coyote » 2007-03-24 10:20pm

I'd say...in as best order as I can figure, chronologically speaking:


Pre-gunpowder era:
Chipped-blade (stone, obsidian, etc)
Atlatl --spear-chucker extending range and power of spears. First compound weapon system.
Bronze swords
Iron Swords
Halberd
Trebuchet
Longbow
Crossbow

Gunpowder era:
Cannon
Rocket
Arquebus
Petard (grenade)
Musket
Rifled Musket
Bolt-action rifle
Revolver
Lever-Action
Semi-automatic loading

Industrial era:
Breechloading cannon
Ironclad warship
Engine-Warship integration
Spar torpedo
Automatic weapon (Gatling/Machinegun)
Submarine
Airplane
Artillery-Radio integration
Tank
Pressurized cockpits

Modern era:
Supersonic aircraft
Homing missile
Radar
Sonar
Electronic Warfare
Airborne assault forces
Helicopters
Long range missiles (cruise/MIRV)
Stealth
Nuclear Weaponry
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Post by Patrick Degan » 2007-03-24 10:40pm

SciFi's list seems simply a catalogue of weapons the poll respondants like to whip their skippys over. The Trojan Horse doesn't really count as a "weapon" per-se, since it was simply a method of infiltration into Troy.

If I had to pick a list of seven weapons which forever changed warfare, I'd go with:

• the composite bow (and longbow) —which placed a long distance and accurate missile weapon in the hands of the ordinary warrior.

• the musket —from the first moment this made its appearance on the battlefield, the bow, the sword, and armour became obsolete.

• the ironclad warship —farewell the fighting Temairaire and all her wooden sisters. The Age of the Armada and Nelson on the high seas was finished.

• the Minie ball —the first real bullet; rendered obsolete the tactics of infantry warfare which had existed in more or less the same forms for centuries, though the lesson took a horribly long time to be learned as the American Civil War demonstrated.

• the rifled artillery gun —against this innovation, brick-walled fortresses became a thing of the past, as the ruins of Ft. Sumter attest to.

• the airplane —brought warfare into the third dimension and the cities of a warmaking nation as well as distant enemy armies (and navies) into attack range.

• the atomic bomb —totally changed the calculus of war and its potential for destruction as the most compact and efficient killing machine ever invented. All wars since Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been small-scale and entirely regional conflicts, with superpower involvement operating under considerable restraints in order to not risk all-out war. Even regional nuclear powers understand this, as when India and Pakistan backed away from the brink a few years ago.
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Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2007-03-24 11:09pm

Satellite imagery, Satellite guided warheads and UAVs ought to be added to the list. We don't need to rely on humans to actually do aerial intelligence as before.
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Post by Stuart Mackey » 2007-03-25 12:01am

Stirrups are not a weapon per se, but it sure made cavalary a lot more effective.
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Post by Cos Dashit » 2007-03-25 12:14am

I would have figured:

1) Catapult. Great siege weapon.
2) Longbow. No more nearly immobile, iron-clad knights.
3) Breach-loading rifle. Can you say, "Firepower Gap"?
4) Maxim Gun. The main cause of trench warfare.
5) Tank. No more trench warfare.
6) Planes/Missiles. Recon, stealth, bombing, etc.
7) Nuclear Bombs. Mutual Assured Destruction.

EDIT: Replace Longbow with Crossbow.
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Post by Cos Dashit » 2007-03-25 12:17am

Vendetta wrote:Their choices: ... Bayonet
What? During WWI, the bayonet was hardly ever used. Too messy, and the gun is more or less stuck. The soldiers used their shovels before the bayonet.
Please forgive any idiotic comments, stupid observations, or dumb questions in above post, for I am but a college student with little real world experience.

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Post by Zor » 2007-03-25 12:32am

Cos Dashit wrote:I would have figured:

1) Catapult. Great siege weapon.
2) Longbow. No more nearly immobile, iron-clad knights.
3) Breach-loading rifle. Can you say, "Firepower Gap"?
4) Maxim Gun. The main cause of trench warfare.
5) Tank. No more trench warfare.
6) Planes/Missiles. Recon, stealth, bombing, etc.
7) Nuclear Bombs. Mutual Assured Destruction.
Longbows and crossbows had nowere near the effect that the Aquebus had. Sure a Longbow had longer range than an Aquebus, but to get that you needed to be trained from childhood in its use. To get someone proffisient in the use of a Knightslaying Aquebus, all it took was a few weeks of drilling. As for crossbows they were a bitch to reload (even more than muskets), used more expensive ammunition and had to be of a spacific type to do anything against knights and even then had less power than a musketball.

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Post by CmdrWilkens » 2007-03-25 01:07am

Honestly I'd take the Flintlock over the Arquebus, while the later ushered in the era of the musket it was the later that truly made mass armies of rifle wielders effective. After that there are only a few other decisive pieces:

1) Heavy Cavalry, in many forms over the years these troops changed the nature of warfare by adding the extra dimension of power and spped the heavy horsed soldier adds

2) Ironclad ships, again despite a century and a half of refinement the nature of surface combat forever changed when iron when to sea

3) The Submarine, another huge player in naval warfare altering, before them it was enough to simply locate and hold the enemy fleet in order to secure your SLOCs now the threat would be everywhere and elusive

4) Aircraft, from the first observation ballon onwards it altered both the gathering and use of intelligence then later the means of attacking and securing strategic objectives whether through direct bombing, parachuting, or simply interdicting lines of travel and communication.

5) The Aircraft Carrier, I list this seperate from planes because the two change different theates of war in totally unique ways.

6) Rifled Artillery, before this it was enough to simply build the walls thick, afterwards you had to take down your opponents arty or suffer.
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Post by DrMckay » 2007-03-25 02:28am

Don't forget the Wheel-lock and snapchaunce. (non Matchlock firerams meant easier assasinations and pistol and carbine-bearing cavalry.) caracole anyone? (Not that it was very effective, it just looks cool...)


Other thatn that, you guys basically said it before me. good job
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Post by Faram » 2007-03-25 02:48am

You gus forget the first and simplest weapon of war

The Spear
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Post by Adrian Laguna » 2007-03-25 03:58am

Cos Dashit wrote:
Vendetta wrote:Their choices: ... Bayonet
What? During WWI, the bayonet was hardly ever used. Too messy, and the gun is more or less stuck. The soldiers used their shovels before the bayonet.
Why the hell are you criticising the Bayonet by bringing-up a conflict that occurred a couple hundred years after its invention? Back when it was invented it did revolutionize warfare. I could stand here all day and mention conflicts were bayonets were used extensively. Instead I'll give you a short version: every war in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Faram wrote:You gus forget the first and simplest weapon of war

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Actually no. The first and simplest weapon of war is the conveniently sized rock or tree branch.

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Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2007-03-25 04:05am

Faram wrote:You gus forget the first and simplest weapon of war

The Spear
That evolved into the Bayonet I guess?
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Post by Lord Zentei » 2007-03-25 07:46am

Cos Dashit wrote:2) Longbow. No more nearly immobile, iron-clad knights.
Nitpick: knights were not "nearly immobile" since plate armour was designed to deflect blows rather than absorb them: the massive plate armours rendering people immobile is a brainbug. However, they lacked endurance for extended combats.
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Post by defanatic » 2007-03-25 07:47am

I'd probably have on the list:

Cavalry: You can now go more quickly than your legs take you.
Radio: You can now talk to people a long distance away, and co-ordinate forces far more effectively than with flags and the like. Also, since you don't have to see the guy you're taking orders from, everyone can be camouflaged!
Gunpowder: You don't have to be particularly strong to fire a projectile an appreciable distance, or require mechanical loading aids.
Nukes: Have changed the way wars between nuclear capable countries fight.
Aircraft: Aircraft have allowed conflicts to be fought well away from previous battle lines, and no longer are the people at the rear safe.
Club: The beginning of the arms race. A piece of bone or wood used to beat some other hapless humanoid.

Not an entirely serious list, but meh. I haven't put much thought into it.
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Post by The Dark » 2007-03-25 11:16am

Zor wrote:
Cos Dashit wrote:I would have figured:

1) Catapult. Great siege weapon.
2) Longbow. No more nearly immobile, iron-clad knights.
3) Breach-loading rifle. Can you say, "Firepower Gap"?
4) Maxim Gun. The main cause of trench warfare.
5) Tank. No more trench warfare.
6) Planes/Missiles. Recon, stealth, bombing, etc.
7) Nuclear Bombs. Mutual Assured Destruction.
Longbows and crossbows had nowere near the effect that the Aquebus had. Sure a Longbow had longer range than an Aquebus, but to get that you needed to be trained from childhood in its use. To get someone proffisient in the use of a Knightslaying Aquebus, all it took was a few weeks of drilling.

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The part about training is true. However, the deathblow to the longbow was industrialization and the rise of mass conscription. An English/Welsh longbow had roughly the same range and lethality as a Brown Bess musket of the 1700s, with six times the rate of fire. Until the development of the bolt-action rifle, gunpowder firearms were statistically inferior to the bow - only the simplicity of use by conscripts made gunpowder more appealing. To give an idea of the difference in rate of fire, arquebusiers (and musketeers) required pikemen to defend them while they reloaded. Archers put stakes in the ground to slow down cavalry, and did not require a bodyguard unit their own size to protect them.

And of course, longbows don't blow up, can't be loaded with multiple rounds accidentally, aren't dangerous after a misfire, and don't stop working in the rain (if stringed with linen). The matchlock arquebus had all those flaws.
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Post by Cos Dashit » 2007-03-25 02:48pm

The Dark wrote:and don't stop working in the rain (if stringed with linen).
Question: Were the bows of the Mongols strung with linen? I seem to remember that their bows didn't work as effectively in moist environments...
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Post by The Yosemite Bear » 2007-03-25 02:55pm

1. Greek Fire: when you absolutly need to set someone's boat on fire from waaaay over there also makes a great catapult load. (modern equivalent flame thrower)

2. Laminate bow, greatly increased the strength and power, as well as the longevity of bows, also allowed for tactical innovations that lead to the fearsome mongol calvary, and the english longbow.

3. The horse: ok, not technically a weapon, but it provided mobility, and an elevated position from which to see above the din of battle, not to mention 300 pounds of well trained animal was something most didn't want to deal with. Also great for carrying supplies, scouting, and sending messages. The fact that spearmen could take it down easily didn't really matter if combined with ranged attack or flanking moves: Equivalent-Tank/Hummer

4. The Automobile: better then the horse in every way.

5. Cordite: the first black powder weapons were messy affairs, the smoke and inaccuracy didn't really change much. now once we had smokeless powder, rifled barrels and drawn brass cartridges things got interesting. Also started the trend for more modern explosives.

6. Industrial machining: not a weapon, but rifled barrels, easily replaceable parts, and systems that worked because they fit well together and weren't hand made/unique provided an unfair advantage that the first world enjoys to this day.

7. The atomic age. nuff said.
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