Author Topic: Alternative Huns?  (Read 714 times)

Jim Webster

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Re: Alternative Huns?
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2019, 10:28:20 AM »
What convinced me otherwise was Yermak's campaign in Siberia.  The illustrated chronicle shows many pictures of Yermak's Cossacks with arquebus and polearms  defeating the Chuvash and other nomads.  It appears that the guns were hugely effective in driving off larger forces of horse bow and spear cavalry.  The key is to stop the cavalry charging in, by either using polearms or waggons .  Its rather like that scene in Kagemusha where fences protect the arquebusiers.
Interestingly Moslem horse stay away from Frankish crossbowmen on the Damietta campaign and One imagines its the same reason.   Babur does the same in India , protecting his arquebusiers  with wagons.   It may be that the essence of Hussite and other wagon forts is using the tactical defensive to create a situation in which the handguns are protected from hand to hand and can shoot into a mass of opponents.

Roy

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It makes perfect sense Roy. If you have a slow firing weapon then you need to ensure that the enemy cannot close with those who are firing.
When shooting at enemies who are attacking you, then the enemies are going to close up their ranks a bit, and are probably in some depth. I think that the advantage here was that if the defenders had bows, a fair proportion of the arrows are going to be stopped by armour or shields, or slowed enough by heavy clothing so they don't do that much damage
If the defenders have muskets, you're firing far fewer shots, but each shot is far more likely to do disabling damage, to man or horse.

So at the end of the action, the surviving enemy who were targeted by archers might have more wounded in their ranks, who could really do with time out to have their wounds treated or just filled with honey and allowed to heal.
The surviving enemy who were targeted by muskets probably had far fewer wounded in their ranks because the smashed and broken bodies of the wounded were still sprawled in front of the defences, or if carried away, having limbs amputated by surgeons.
  • Jim Webster

Erpingham

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Re: Alternative Huns?
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2019, 10:38:24 AM »
We know experimentally that early firearms were pretty effective at very short range but performance dropped off rapidly - bows have a slower drop off.  In theory all the horse archers have to do is stand off outside effective gun range.  But, as I think the belief is, their tactical doctrine involved use their mobility to close to short range, shoot and then open the range again they are going to be very vulnerable at closest pass.
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Andreas Johansson

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Re: Alternative Huns?
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2019, 12:12:32 PM »
We know experimentally that early firearms were pretty effective at very short range but performance dropped off rapidly - bows have a slower drop off.  In theory all the horse archers have to do is stand off outside effective gun range.  But, as I think the belief is, their tactical doctrine involved use their mobility to close to short range, shoot and then open the range again they are going to be very vulnerable at closest pass.
I suspect the problem with shooting from outside effective musket range is practical rather doctrinal - if it were the latter, the nomads had centuries to learn their lesson. Specifically, I suspect the effect per arrow is too low to justify the expenditure of ammunition. You score hits, but too many of them bounce of armour or cause minor woulds to be worthwhile.

The wagon trick to prevent cavalry from charging home while you pepper them with firearms is quite common around the 16C: in addition to the examples Roy lists, one might think of the Ottomans at Caldiran - the defeated Safavids then go on to repeat the same trick against the Uzbeks in a later battle. There was a bit of discussion of this in the war-wagon thread kicked of by Chris Hahn's Ss article.

Pike-and-shot formations serve the same function, which is probably why the wagon trick goes out of fashion. I have this impulse to go through the DBR lists and see if Pk and WWg co-occur less than they statistically "should" ...
  • Andreas Johansson
Lead Mountain 2019
Bought: 127 infantry, 16 cavalry, 0 chariots, 36 other
Finished: 32 infantry, 7 cavalry, 0 chariots, 5 other, 69 bases redone