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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:40 am 
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Viet Cong commandos . . . not guys you want to fuck with I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:20 am 
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chijohnaok wrote:
For those that have been waiting for the correct answer to the question "Can you name the last aircraft carrier in U.S. military history to date sunk by enemy action?", it was the Card, a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier.

She was sunk by Viet Cong Commandos in Saigon on 2 May 1964.

I found out about this when I stumbled upon the following article:

Viet Cong Commandos Sank an American Aircraft Carrier

She settled in 20 feet (6.1 m) of water. She was patched and pumped out, and raised on 19 May, and towed to Subic Bay, and then Yokosuka for repairs. Card returned to service on 11 December.
And here I thought there would be screaming and hollering when you posted the answer ... pure silence other this bit from Anthropoid and my attempt at humor.

Maybe everybody is afeared of Doggie?

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:21 am 
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abradley wrote:
chijohnaok wrote:
For those that have been waiting for the correct answer to the question "Can you name the last aircraft carrier in U.S. military history to date sunk by enemy action?", it was the Card, a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier.

She was sunk by Viet Cong Commandos in Saigon on 2 May 1964.

I found out about this when I stumbled upon the following article:

Viet Cong Commandos Sank an American Aircraft Carrier

She settled in 20 feet (6.1 m) of water. She was patched and pumped out, and raised on 19 May, and towed to Subic Bay, and then Yokosuka for repairs. Card returned to service on 11 December.
And here I thought there would be screaming and hollering when you posted the answer ... pure silence other this bit from Anthropoid and my attempt at humor.

Maybe everybody is afeared of Doggie?


What is the reaction you were expecting. Personally I'm looking forward to having time to read up further on VC commando corps.

To me it comes as no shock. Special forces when appropriately recruited and properly trained, deployed meaningfully will be able to achieve great victories.

Even so, their pains were thwarted as USN was able to rescue the vessel as the spot it was sunk to was less than ideal for their enemies, from USN perspective if they were going to have a vessel sunk, it was sunk right where they would prefer it.

North Vietnam did have a regular army and they were supported by the whole Communist world. It wasn't that small country and the terrain was well suited for covert operations and infantry. Commies never seemed to have problems with motivating their troops to fight for the cause.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:13 am 
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raid_on_Alexandria_(1941)

Quote:
Aftermath[edit]
This represented a dramatic change of fortunes against the Allies from the strategic point of view during the next six months. The Italian fleet had temporarily wrested naval supremacy in the east-central Mediterranean from the Royal Navy.[12][13][14][15]

Valiant was towed to Admiralty Floating Dock 5 on the 21st for temporary repairs and was under repair at Alexandria until April 1942 when she sailed to Durban. By August, she was operating with Force B off Africa in exercises for the defence of East Africa and operations against Madagascar.[16]

Queen Elizabeth was in drydock at Alexandria for temporary repairs until late June, when she sailed for the United States for refit and repairs, which ended the following June. The refit was completed in Britain.[17]


Most likely more damaging than anything else the Regia Marina tried.
Given better equipment...

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:21 am 
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Somebody should do a game where you play a VC commando! ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:16 am 
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Something that was said about "medieval fencers" got stuck on the back of my head and I recalled it this morning.

Point that needed to be made - the skill of fencers even in medieval periods varied wildly. Depending on time and place there were even laws requiring every man of certain worth (England, iirc. 14th century) to own a sword.

Even members of warrior elite who had the position through birth and who could not easily or at all be fired from that position might dismiss their duties to practice rigorously. This kind of thing would happen in most of the world too, from Europe to Japan. You might be a knight or a samurai but this didn't mean that you were some special forces god when it came to fighting.

In fact some of these warrior elite were more inclined to... bean counting or just throwing parties.

In Europe there were a lot of civilians who owned swords and of course other weapons. It was up to individual's own discretion to practice and many would not seek professional instruction, instead opting to do some random swinging on Sundays in the backyard or the equivalent of it - if they didn't just tuck away the sword and hope it would maintain itself.

I have read some historical writings from musters in England - one of the places that actually has nice recordings of what the lords thought of the people showing up. At times some lords would complain about the quality of men presented - clearly men of poor fitness who had not practiced at all. Here's a quote, it talks heavily on the quality of armor and armaments in late 16th century England prior to Spanish Armada but also touches on the quality of the fighting men:

http://www.alderneywreck.com/index.php/artefacts/armour

Quote:
The state of the nation’s armour
The military organization inherited by Elizabeth was largely medieaval in character; apart from its heavy ordnance industry, the state of the nation’s arms and armour could not have been much worse. These short-comings were particularly evident at the musters when the able bodied men of the town or parish assembled for training and inspection. The more affluent would-be soldiers had their own armour and weapons, but most depended on the public collections that were held in churches or other depots and arsenals. It was a system that bred neglect and inefficiency.
At the time of Elizabeth’s accession the armour in most collections was in poor condition, lacked funtionality and offered uncertain protection. Most of the older panoplies had been designed to stop or deflect arrows, swords and hafted weapons, but now, in the new age of firearms, they were obsolete. A trained marksman, with good bullet and powder, could kill a man in ordinary armour of older type at a range of over 600 yards.

Another problem was inadequate care and maintenance. No doubt some collections were better funded than others, and certainly some lord-lieutenants and muster-masters were more conscientious than others, but most of the publicly owed armour, especially during the first half of the Queen’s reign, appears to have been ill-fastened, pitted from rust and worn thin from years of scouring with sand. In addition, linings were often rotten from damp and in tatters from rodent activity. At one muster in 1559, the year after Elizabeth was enthroned, the soldiers refused the armour provided as unfit to wear.

As with firearms and bladed weapons, armour needed regular cleaning, burnishing, varnishing and oiling. In addition, the buff-leather linings of corselets and the buckram interiors of helemts needed frequent renewal, and straps, thongs and rose rivets required regular replacement. Of particular concern, were the buckles (that, for instance, held breast plates to back plates), for, as Humphrey Coningsby of the Hertfordshire men wrote, ‘in vayne ar the steele peeces, if the armminges that should hold them together be naught and unserviceable’. One enterprising individual, a certain William Poore, saw a business opportunity and approached Lord Burghly in an attempt to sell him a treatment that he clamed would stop armour ‘rusting, cankering or putrifying’.

Yet another problem was the lack of standardization and poor fit. In the collections, as indeed in the armour from the wreck, every piece was of contrasting size, shape and style. If the common soldier had any choice when he arrived at muster, he tended to take what was of least antiquity and most stylish, rather than what was in best agreement with his body. But, more often than not, it was a Hobson’s choice in which one got what one was given. Sir John Smythe, who pondered much on the weapons of his day, recommended that arms and armour be kept at home, for not only would this encourage better care, fit and compatability of the parts, but would avoid, at collection points, the comic situation in which people proceeded ‘in a hubbledehuffe disorderlie to arme themselves; whereof … little men doo put on great or tall mens armore, and leave litle mens armors unfit for great men to put on; according to the old saying, first come, first served’.

Proper military appearance was also a concern of Humphrey Coningsby who ordered the Herfordshire men to ‘weare their armour Just and Close to their bodies, Soldeor Lyke, and neate and fit and not neggligentlie or Looselye as though thei carried it in a fayre or market to sell it’.

The problem of the armour, however, was not just age, fit and condition, but also the quality of those who wore it, for many of the men that turned up for muster (which were as much social occasions as military events) were unfit to be hommes d’armes because of advanced years, ill-health or poor character. Lord Burghley, who was deeply concerned about the fighting capability of the nation’s troops, recognised that the muster system served ‘more for fashion than for substance of discipline’. From glimpses such as these, one cannot help but conclude that Shakespeare’s satirizing of the Tudor army, was not entirely undeserved.

The situation was best summarized by Lindsey Boyton in his book The Elizabethan Militia: ‘With munitions … Elizabeth’s government had to make a fresh start. In (Queen) Mary’s time a Spanish peer was said to have remarked contemptuously that England’s lack of defensive equipment would make her an easy conquest … even the armoury in the Tower of London was very meagrely stocked. Munitions of every kind such as gunpowder, and its component saltpetre, pikes, pistols, handguns, bowstaves, and body-armour, were needed at once and in immense quantities’.
To help redress the situation, Sir Thomas Gresham was entrusted with the procurement of arms and armour. From 1559 to 1563 he conducted his operations on what Boyton called ‘an immense scale’ throughout Flanders and Germany’. In October 1559 he brought £48,000 of munitions into England. Although great progress was made, there was still a long way to go before English soldiers could be considered a match for the best armies of Europe. This was well illustrated ten years later when the armour in the Tower of London, the national arsenal, was still so honeycombed with rust that the government was forced to to seek contributions to have it replaced. In the course of this they appear to have tried to pass on some of the older panoplies to the counties, for there is a record at that time of armour being returned to the Tower as too old and useless and ‘neere worn out in scowring’.

Advances in the equipping and professionalizing of the infantry continued throughout the 1570s and 1580s, but on the eve of the Armada, England was still no match for Spain’s finest. It is not clear whether he was referring to the men or their equipment, but when Elizabeth asked Sir John Norryes, England’s foremost soldier, what he thought of her army, he allegedly replied that ‘They were all wishing to have the Spaniards land, and every man was telling what feats he would do; he (i.e. Norryes) was the only man that was trembling for fear of it’.
Although there is no doubt that things had much improved by the time of the Alderney ship in 1592, the country was still a long way from being able to supply its own needs, and the goverment, again and again, had to turn to the counties in order to weapon and armour its overseas troop levies. Cheshire, for instance, supplied armour to the government that it never got back, forcing Lord Cobham to write to Walsingham to ask how it was going to replace the county’s lost armour.

It was only around the turn of the century that England began producing good regular military armour of its own in quantity. A commercial catalogue from this period advertises armour that was ‘all English and no Flemish, and in goodness extraordinary’. During the course of the Virgin Queen’s reign, all aspects of the arms and armour industry, as well as the recruiting, training, organization and tactical deployment of its armies, came a very long way. ‘Elizabeth’s army’, wrote Professor Henry Webb, ‘appeared late on the battlefield of Europe. It came in confusion and, for a while, fought in disorder … (but by) combining theory with experience obtained in the field, (its leaders) helped it shed most of the medieval characteristics which had plagued the English army before the reign of Elizabeth – indeed, which had perniciously lingered on for some years after she had ascended the throne – so that by the turn of the century they had made it, with all its faults, a relatively efficient implement of war’.



So, what was the skill of an average medieval swordsman? Young 'bacheler' who's merchant papa bought him a sword, was he any good? Will we ever know? Hard to tell.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:27 am 
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600 yards!? With a presumably smooth bore musket, and the most primitive of sights!? I find that hard to believe :) Perhaps 200 yards, but that would seem to be pushing it based on what I know about early firearms.

But your point about "mediocrity" in general well taken. If there is one constant it is human nature!

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:49 pm 
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Anthropoid wrote:
600 yards!? With a presumably smooth bore musket, and the most primitive of sights!? I find that hard to believe :) Perhaps 200 yards, but that would seem to be pushing it based on what I know about early firearms.

But your point about "mediocrity" in general well taken. If there is one constant it is human nature!


These are records by English professional officers and experts who commanded their own units equipped with firearms.

http://www.alderneywreck.com/index.php/artefacts/firearms/terminology-and-ballistic-capability

Image

Quote:
The harquebus (or arquebus, hagbuse, hackbushe, hagbut, hackbut or harkbutte) was the lightest of the long guns, with (at the time of the Alderney ship) a barrel length of ‘not above a yard’. Other sources give an overall length of about 43 inches, a weight of 7 to 9 pounds, and a calibre of approximately .58. According to Smythe, because of their ‘lightness and shortness’ they were so manageable that ‘harquebusiers (could) skirmish a great deal longer and with more dexterity and certainty than the calivars …’. Humphrey Barwick noted that harquebuses, fired in volley, would be effective at 160, 200 even 240 yards from target and claimed that he personally could hit a standing man at 120 yards. Smythe, by contrast, felt that a harquebusier, to be sure of dropping his man when firing individually, should wait for him to come within 8, 10 or 12 paces. Nor could contemporary commentators agree on their rate of fire, estimates ranging from 10 to 40 discharges an hour.


Quote:
The caliver was next in size and weight to the harquebus. It was ‘of greater length and height of bullet (i.e. bore) and more reinforced (i.e. had a more robust stock) than harquebuses’. It had a barrel length of between 39 and 44 inches giving it an overall length of about 55 inches. Its weight was around 10-12 pounds and it had a calibre of approximately .76 to .80. Calivers would ‘carry further … and also give a greater blow than harquebuses’. Smythe felt that the caliver (and harquebus), when fired in volley by skilful shooters, would kill within three or four score yards. Baraby Rich (b. 1542), a prolific pamphleteer who saw action in Ireland, France and the Low Countries, wrote that the caliver had a range of between 360 and 400 yards. According to Smythe, the additional weight of the caliver was particularly problematical during ‘a hasty retreat’ when ‘the caliverers in such action, through an over-much heaviness of their pieces, do most commonly cast them away and trust to their heels’. In 1596 the cost of a caliver was between 12 and 30 shillings.


Quote:
The musket, was much larger and weightier than the harquebus or caliver and, because of that, had to be supported by a forked rest during aiming and gave a ‘sore recoyle’ on discharge. It had a barrel length of 45 to 55 inches giving it an overall length of roughly 64-68 inches. Its weight was about 20 pounds and it had a calibre of between .80 to .92. Cyprian Lucar, in his appendix to Niccolo Tartaglia’s Three Books of Colloquies Concerning the Arte of Shooting (1588), gives it a length of ‘at least 4 feet’ a bore of ‘23/30 inches’ and a pellet of 2¼ ounces’. The artillerist, Luigi Collado, writing in 1586, considers the musket a ‘two-ouncer’. Contemporary commentators rarely agreed on matters of detail but, in general, it could be said that a musket used one and a half times more powder than a caliver to propel a bullet that was significantly heavier over a greater distance. It is also of interest that, because of its greater bore, the musket was known to have fired small doses of hailshot. Regarding range and the time it took to reload and fire; according to Robert Held, a nimble musketeer could fire two shots in three minutes, but in general it was believed that the harquebus and caliver could be fired at twice the rate of a musket, but on the other hand, the musket was a much more dangerous weapon. According to Sir Roger Williams (who, in the mid 1580s, had served under Sir John Norreys and later became his bitter rival), ‘one musket shot does more hurt than two caliver shot far or near …’. Humfrey Barwick believed that a musket with good shot and powder, would kill the best armoured man at ten score yards, an ordinary armoured man at twenty score, and an unarmoured man at thirty score. Williams was in broad agreement with this, ‘the musket’, he wrote, ‘spoils horse and man thirty score off. If the powder be anything good and the bearer of any judgement, and in the face of a charge, few if any, would be able to withstand a musket fusillade within ten or twelve score’. Regarding the number of muskets per company, Williams, who was a great believer in the weapon (‘in my judgement 500 muskets are better than 1000 calivers’), felt that the English should increase their involvement, pointing to the Spanish armies which often had 25 musketeers for every 100 men, and speculated that, because of their effectiveness and the ‘terror’ they caused, soon most of the Spanish ‘small shot’ would be musketeers. Writing six years after the Alderney ship, Robert Barret, in his Theorike and Practike of Moderne Warres, also recommended the Spanish composition of 25 musketeers per 100 men. According to Smythe, muskets were first used around 1530 in Italy where they had been ‘devised to encounter heavily armed opponents, and for the defence of towns and fortresses’. By the 1560s they were clearly much utilized by the Spanish, but their first use by an English company did not happen until the late 1580s (though clearly they were in private possession at least a decade earlier). In 1588 the Norfolk companies were ordered to arm fifteen per cent of their foot with muskets. By 1597 the government wanted at least half, and preferably two-thirds of their foot to be musketeers. It is too early in the excavation to speculate on the relative numbers of the different types of shoulder-arms on the wreck; clearly the musket was a relatively new weapon to the English at the time, but it is equally evident that the number of muskets, in proportion to calivers and harquebuses, was growing quickly.


Underlining from The Musket:
Quote:
According to Sir Roger Williams (who, in the mid 1580s, had served under Sir John Norreys and later became his bitter rival), ‘one musket shot does more hurt than two caliver shot far or near …’. Humfrey Barwick believed that a musket with good shot and powder, would kill the best armoured man at ten score yards, an ordinary armoured man at twenty score, and an unarmoured man at thirty score. Williams was in broad agreement with this, ‘the musket’, he wrote, ‘spoils horse and man thirty score off. If the powder be anything good and the bearer of any judgement, and in the face of a charge, few if any, would be able to withstand a musket fusillade within ten or twelve score’.


Note: score = 20 yards.

Note, Humfrey Barwick too in A Breefe Discourse (London 1594) notes that the effectiveness relies heavily on the quality of the shot and powder, or as we'd say in modern terms "in lab conditions" as they were never that perfect for large number of men on the field. Hence why some argue that instead of 10 score distance they should instead opt for 10 paces distance for maximum effect on actual battlefield.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:38 pm 
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Well, to put it very concisely: nothing claimed by historical accounts can be taken to be proof of anything. Multiple historical accounts, plus other historical observations, plus archaeological evidence, plus contemporary reconstructions, etc. can I suppose--when used exhaustively--establish reasonable benchmarks for the "ballpark" of any given sort of weapon at any given point in history. But even there, issues such as training, the powder, etc., would reshape the actual manifest "range" of the things.

Having read through those historical accounts you dilligently dug up, I'm not seeing anything that eliminates my skepticism that smooth bore firearms could consistently hit and kill at 600 yards. It is my understanding from American Civil War era that firing smooth bores at anything greater than 150 yards was likely to produce quite limited effects, and it was best for a unit to withhold firing until somewhere between 50 and 100 yards, at which range a large formation of troops firing in unison could produce withering effects on an enemy formation.

Consider the Springfield Model 1855 rifled musket

Quote:
The Model 1855 Springfield was a rifled musket used in the mid 19th century. It was produced by the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts and at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal in Virginia.

Earlier muskets had mostly been smooth bore flintlocks. In the 1840s, the unreliable flintlocks had been replaced by much more reliable and weather resistant percussion cap systems. The smooth barrel and inaccurate round ball were also being replaced by rifled barrels and the newly invented Minié ball. This increased the typical effective range of a musket from about 50 yards to several hundred yards. The Model 1855 had an effective range of 500 yards and was deadly to over 1,000 yards.[1]


The side bar to that page lists some slightly different figures for effective range and maximum effective range
Quote:
Effective firing range 200 to 300 yd (180 to 270 m)
Maximum firing range 800 to 1,000 yd (730 to 910 m)

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:12 am 
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Anthropoid wrote:
Well, to put it very concisely: nothing claimed by historical accounts can be taken to be proof of anything. Multiple historical accounts, plus other historical observations, plus archaeological evidence, plus contemporary reconstructions, etc. can I suppose--when used exhaustively--establish reasonable benchmarks for the "ballpark" of any given sort of weapon at any given point in history. But even there, issues such as training, the powder, etc., would reshape the actual manifest "range" of the things.

Having read through those historical accounts you dilligently dug up, I'm not seeing anything that eliminates my skepticism that smooth bore firearms could consistently hit and kill at 600 yards. It is my understanding from American Civil War era that firing smooth bores at anything greater than 150 yards was likely to produce quite limited effects, and it was best for a unit to withhold firing until somewhere between 50 and 100 yards, at which range a large formation of troops firing in unison could produce withering effects on an enemy formation.

Consider the Springfield Model 1855 rifled musket

Quote:
The Model 1855 Springfield was a rifled musket used in the mid 19th century. It was produced by the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts and at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal in Virginia.

Earlier muskets had mostly been smooth bore flintlocks. In the 1840s, the unreliable flintlocks had been replaced by much more reliable and weather resistant percussion cap systems. The smooth barrel and inaccurate round ball were also being replaced by rifled barrels and the newly invented Minié ball. This increased the typical effective range of a musket from about 50 yards to several hundred yards. The Model 1855 had an effective range of 500 yards and was deadly to over 1,000 yards.[1]


The side bar to that page lists some slightly different figures for effective range and maximum effective range
Quote:
Effective firing range 200 to 300 yd (180 to 270 m)
Maximum firing range 800 to 1,000 yd (730 to 910 m)



Yes, effective firing range is very different from maximum lethal range. I found the 600 yards "would spoil a man" to mean that if you fired a .85 round at a mass of men, eg. a formation of 5,000 pikemen then the unlucky sod being hit without any armor would be "spoiled".

Notice that 18th and 19th century muskets are the same caliber as harquebus, the lightest of the three with caliver said to have twice the power with it's .76 to .80 caliber and musket having .80 to .92 caliber.

So indeed, I have no doubt that a .92 musket round would still carry enough energy to injure someone at 500 meters in perfect conditions - good bullet, good powder, good musket and assuming it actually hits something.

I've recently read 18th and 19th century investigations with the .56 caliber range muskets and they seem to consistently say that the loss of energy is such that armor is useful over a certain distance and even unarmored opponents start to be safe after first 100 meters. The weight of the shot increased by power of three when the other dimensions increase by power of two and increase in mass quickly adds to lethal range.

In the sources the harquebus of 16th century is indeed closest to smooth bore musket of .56 caliber and one of the sources has Humphrey claiming he could personally hit a man at 120 yards and that volley fire would have maximum range of injury at 240 yards against unarmored massed ranks. I personally would immediately assume that this is the absolute maximum range which means that already at this range you will have a number of the guns be unable to cause injury due to inconsistent qualities of all three - barrel, powder and bullet. Especially pre-standardization firearms suffered enormously from inconsistencies with individual firearms ranging from excellent quality to abysmal ones. The 'Target bargain harquebus' of it's era could indeed explode in your arms when fired and the shot might not travel all that straight in best conditions.

When 'the Emperor' (can't remember which) introduced standardization of firearms it was met with heavy criticism and strong complaints - from weapons manufacturers who were making a buck by producing large number of 'proprietary caliber and proprietary rounds for that caliber'.

Also, see how contemporary commenters have just the harquebus firing rate from 10 to 40 discharges an hour. That's fricking huge. Imagine if your rifle battalion lieutenant said "our M-16 fires 150-600 rounds per minute depending on where the rifle was bought from and whether it's the Kentucky or Arkansas company"



So, yea, didn't see anyone claiming you could hit a castle wall from 500 meters. What they did say was that getting hit by a 23mm round at 500 meters without any protection that you'd get hurt.
They write that the rounds weighed 2 to 2.25 ounces. That's 56-63 grams, 7.62x39 bullet weighs 7.5 to 8 grams. 23mm is quite the caliber, it's bigger than the Lahti L-39 antitank rifle for measure.

No wonder the musket caliber shrank over time as armor became limited to cavalry wearing a cuirass. And no wonder the early muskets were effective against the 15th century armor with it written in many sources that it would penetrate all but the best from 100 meters. Hence the 16th century's best armor started sporting the 'bulletproof' mark but even then it would be good to know what bullet and shot had been used. To stand a half charge harquebus round is different from standing a full load musket round.

Note how the English lords complain about how their 14th and 15th century hand me down armors are no longer functional as they were designed for battlefields where firearms weren't commonplace and how by late 16th century they offer minimal protection against the weapons of the day.

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