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 Longbow vs. Javelin
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sfdragon
Great Reader

2216 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2018 :  10:31:28  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

If'n y'all gonna be like that...

You can shoot down an AH-64D Apache Longbow with a FGM-148 Javelin, but considering the range and velocity difference between the Javelin and am AGM-114 Hellfire, not to mention what a 30mm round or two from the M230 chain gun will do to you within much of the performance envelope of the Javelin, I sure as shootin' wouldn't volunteer for that there job.


lets get the trebuchet....

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


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Magister's GAmbit
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Thraskir Skimper
Learned Scribe

170 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2018 :  12:29:32  Show Profile Send Thraskir Skimper a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My sister took a javelin to the leg in school. It didn't penetrate the bone but it penetrated right up to it. It depends where you get hit. Stomach hit, The javelin is going to do a lot of damage. The Arrow is going to penetrate bone better also noted the type of head, broad head will mess up skin but not penetrate bone much. Arrows rotate and travel further faster. But don't carry much weight. A javelin rotates slowly weighs lots and penetrates skin but not bone. Solid armour would work great on javelins and broad headed arrows, the long bow adds extra power and rotation though.

Try throwing an arrow, it is next to useless. If you propel a javelin (ballista) it is going to be better.

A Crossbow is better yet. Difference between a light and heavy crossbow is the propulsion not the quarrel.

Thay Red
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1544 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2018 :  13:08:37  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thraskir Skimper

My sister took a javelin to the leg in school. It didn't penetrate the bone but it penetrated right up to it. It depends where you get hit. Stomach hit, The javelin is going to do a lot of damage. The Arrow is going to penetrate bone better also noted the type of head, broad head will mess up skin but not penetrate bone much. Arrows rotate and travel further faster. But don't carry much weight. A javelin rotates slowly weighs lots and penetrates skin but not bone. Solid armour would work great on javelins and broad headed arrows, the long bow adds extra power and rotation though.

Was the javelin your sister took a real war javelin with a sharpened steel head or was it a sports javelin?

Because if it was the latter, the proper comparison would be with a toy arrow.

Real war javelins, just as war arrows, can penetrate a lot of flesh and a fair number of bones. You can probably find videos of people shooting pig carcasses with war arrows and if you are lucky, you can find videos where they throw javelins at them. Both war arrows and war javelins go through a pig carcass when they hit at the velocities that warriors would shoot/throw them.

That being said, however, neither arrows nor javelins will penetrate proper armour. Just doesn't happen. Competently made mail with padding will make you functionally immune to arrows, unless they hit where the armour is not. I've seen tests where war javelins would penetrate mail to a depth of 13 cm, which is both a lot better than war arrows can do and might be enough to kill a person, but that was without proper padding.

With padding, I'm not convinced that the javelin would have penetrated, but I'd still rather be shot with an arrow than hit with a war javelin, if I was wearing armour. Less chance of penetration and, once it doesn't penetrate, a lot less momentum to worry about, which is what bruises and breaks ribs through armour.

quote:
Originally posted by Thraskir Skimper

A Crossbow is better yet. Difference between a light and heavy crossbow is the propulsion not the quarrel.


No.

At least not if you are talking about an actual, physical crossbow that obeys the rules of physics. There are practical limits to the velocity you can achieve with bows made from real-world materials. There is a sweet spot in projectile weight where you minimise the inefficiency of the energy transfer from bow to projectile. Heavier, higher draw bows, whether these are crossbows or not, need to shoot heavier projectiles. If they do not, you'll simply waste the extra draw weight, as the thick bow limbs and string will dissipate much of the energy, as the projectile was not heavy enough to compensate.

A light crossbow and a heavy crossbow, assuming both are designed for warfare, will reach about the same velocity, which will be near the maximum possible for the materials before you start reaching major diminishing returns. The heavy crossbow will just shoot a much heavier bolt.

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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1675 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2018 :  14:21:56  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

There are practical limits to the velocity you can achieve with bows made from real-world materials. There is a sweet spot in projectile weight where you minimise the inefficiency of the energy transfer from bow to projectile. Heavier, higher draw bows, whether these are crossbows or not, need to shoot heavier projectiles. If they do not, you'll simply waste the extra draw weight, as the thick bow limbs and string will dissipate much of the energy, as the projectile was not heavy enough to compensate.

Aside of energy, a bow's arms move at limited speed even without arrow, because the material has significant mass and "viscosity". Which is why plastic bows can launch the same (light enough) arrows at greater speed than wooden with the same pull.
Spring grade alloys have negligible viscosity compared to wood, but much greater mass and better (at least force-wise) deformation limits.
Composite bows change the nature of "bending" tension, but in this case recurving is more important.

And below maximum possible speed, there's maximum safe speed, i.e. if you "dry fire" a bow or ballista, it will be damaged by hard stops, and very soon break or tear.

Also, there's an issue of ballistics: a heavier projectile is more stable, and harder to stop.
And you want more energy in the first place exactly to improve range or penetration.
Because if neither was an issue, it would be better to set pull at "just enough to do the job" (for the intended target and range) and reduce reload time, along with size, mass and most likely price.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31317 Posts

Posted - 31 Jul 2018 :  14:45:49  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thraskir Skimper

My sister took a javelin to the leg in school.



Did it end her career as an adventurer?

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Thraskir Skimper
Learned Scribe

170 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2018 :  00:14:56  Show Profile Send Thraskir Skimper a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sports Javelin in junior high school, didn't really change her sporting pursuits although she stopped the javelin. Do kids still throw javelins in school?

The Javelin thrower and my sister became best friends for years afterwards. But like most people drifted away.

Thay Red
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1544 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2018 :  09:04:35  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Thraskir Skimper

Sports Javelin in junior high school, didn't really change her sporting pursuits although she stopped the javelin. Do kids still throw javelins in school?

The Javelin thrower and my sister became best friends for years afterwards. But like most people drifted away.


So a 0.9 lbs. (400 g) javelin designed for flight distance over much longer distances than would be useful in war and to be as non-hazardous as possible while still sticking in the ground, not a ca 2 lbs. war javelin with a sharpened steel head designed to penetrate through a person.

Sports javelins can be dangerous, in the sense that in modern risk averse society anything that could possibly injure another person can be dangerous, but they are not weapons.

Tactical use of war javelins took place at ranges 33 yards (30 m) or less, mostly because it takes them over a second of flight time to get that far and the longer they are in flight, the easier it is for the target to simply step to the side or lift a shield. Javelins more frequently targeted point targets than the longbow, at least at the height of the tactical importance of longbows, at which time it was nearly exclusively an area denial weapon.

As a result of war javelins being designed for point targets inside 100', much more weight was concentrated near the head than with sport javelins. Which results in the sharpened head being driven into bone and flesh much more easily than sport javelins can accidentally penetrate.

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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1675 Posts

Posted - 01 Aug 2018 :  21:18:57  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander

So a 0.9 lbs. (400 g) javelin
Could be done in "war" version, IMHO - with obsidian "knife" spearhead and pole of bamboo or other tough reed, or something like balsa. Armor penetration won't be good, but in warm regions there's little need for it anyway, and it can go through flesh even with modest momentum.
The only problem is that such light and useless in hand-to-hand fight javelin could as well be given fletching, and then it would count as a dart.
quote:
designed for flight distance over much longer distances than would be useful in war

No such thing.
quote:
not a ca 2 lbs. war javelin with a sharpened steel head designed to penetrate through a person.

Here we run into different niches.
Lighter stuff certainly has its uses - against mostly unarmored targets. And atlatl allows to increase range even more.
Heavier is obviously better against armor, but there are also special functions aside of the main optimization lines, like pilum or falarica.
So the Romans had at the same time:
plumbata - dart, made for range;
verutum - common javelin good for skirmishers;
pilum - heavy shield-disabling javelin and auxiliary melee spear, used as a "soften up" weapon, and later replaced with spiculum (lighter, but not much of a spear);
hasta - proper spear, used as a main weapon.
quote:
and the longer they are in flight, the easier it is for the target to simply step to the side
If the target can see them clearly and is neither a formation nor has low maneuverability (elephant, chariot).
quote:
or lift a shield.
Works well for most medium/heavy infantry, indeed.
Perhaps not so well for most cavalry or troops with two-handed weapons (such as heavy spears or polearms). Or those already busy (e.g. charging).
quote:
Javelins more frequently targeted point targets than the longbow, at least at the height of the tactical importance of longbows, at which time it was nearly exclusively an area denial weapon.
Also, for hit-and-run, whether by light infantry or chariots. It's cheap to make and quick in use.
quote:
Which results in the sharpened head being driven into bone and flesh much more easily than sport javelins can accidentally penetrate.

Well, that's the whole point.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6627 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2018 :  06:36:20  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As I pointed out earlier in this scroll, D&D is intended to be a game and D&D is not intended to be a "realistic" combat simulation. Longbows and longswords are iconic hero weapons and they get a little too much love in the game rules - their damages seem a little disproportionate (to me) when compared to a big pointy stick which (I think) should offer a lot more killing power.

For argument's sake, in the most extreme case a longbow arrow or a javelin could fully impale a target - in one side and out the other - and basically focus all the power from one arm into a sharp penetrating point of impact - but the arrow shaft has about half the thickness of a finger while the javelin is basically a broomstick, and an arrowhead certainly has less edge on it than a spearhead. Arrows might be the faster of these two weapons, but both can fly fast enough to hit a target which doesn't want to be hit, and a javelin being used in melee would certainly pack more punch (especially if used two-handed, multiplied by the attacker's mass/momentum, somehow braced against the ground or other terrain, etc).

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 02 Aug 2018 06:37:43
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Thraskir Skimper
Learned Scribe

170 Posts

Posted - 02 Aug 2018 :  06:41:49  Show Profile Send Thraskir Skimper a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Heavy crossbows that cause extra damage to Lawful and Good creatures are my staple. Add in Quarrels that have their own damage bonuses and special innate properties and Magical bonuses. Sure not as good as a wand of fireballs but as a backup weapon it works great.

Thay Red
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