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Thread: missile units

  1. #1

    Default missile units

    I have a few questions about EB's missile units.

    1) Archers - why should I build any? To the best of my knowledge, they are inferior to slingers in every way - lower range, less ammo, weaker stats (esp. accounting for slingers AP), and needing the same or higher level MIC. Since EB skirmishers vaporize elephants, the fire arrow ability just isn't much of an attraction (anti-elephant duty was all I ever used it for in vanilla, anyway). I'm probably missing something, though.

    2) Do the Romans ever get any artillery? Carthage has a 3-cubit bolt thrower in Gades in my game, but Rome with a top level Camillan MIC can't build any equivalents. Not that I'd necessarily want to, at this point, it just seems slightly odd that Carthage and (I believe) some Hellenic factions have the option while I don't... Perhaps this is an artifact of Rome having late units coming after reforms, while other factions with no reforms get access to every possible unit they can build as soon as they build up their MICs?

    3) Not so much a question as a comment: the FAQ says that the AI doesn't spam slingers. In my game, the Celtic factions and Epirus do. Epirus is the worst offender, keeping their two cities at population 500 as they crank out more and more slingers and archers. For most of the game a stack has been sitting outside one city, fifteen units of which nine are slingers. Recently another stack came out to sit next to them, nine units of which seven are slingers and two are archers. The Celts may be getting better, it's hard to tell as their war is in a bloody and active phase at the moment. But for quite some years my spies saw armies moving around consisting entirely of Lugoae and slingers in roughly equal proportions.

  2. #2
    EBII Mod Leader Member Foot's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Romans didn't have the technology to build artillery (which was a very advanced knowledge) until much later in their history. For the time being you can steal it off the Hellenes, as the Romans did in history. When you get to the marian reforms you will be able to build artillery.

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  3. #3
    Sovereign Oppressor Member TIE Fighter Shooter Champion, Turkey Shoot Champion, Juggler Champion Kralizec's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by jhhowell
    I have a few questions about EB's missile units.

    1) Archers - why should I build any? To the best of my knowledge, they are inferior to slingers in every way - lower range, less ammo, weaker stats (esp. accounting for slingers AP), and needing the same or higher level MIC. Since EB skirmishers vaporize elephants, the fire arrow ability just isn't much of an attraction (anti-elephant duty was all I ever used it for in vanilla, anyway). I'm probably missing something, though.
    The archers in the western half of the map are, pretty much, inferior to slingers. In the eastern half of the map however there are some very good archers (some IMO better then slingers). Any type of archer is useful in defensive siege battles because they can use flaming arrows to destroy siege towers and rams, so I like to include some as garrisons in my frontier cities.


    2) Do the Romans ever get any artillery? Carthage has a 3-cubit bolt thrower in Gades in my game, but Rome with a top level Camillan MIC can't build any equivalents. Not that I'd necessarily want to, at this point, it just seems slightly odd that Carthage and (I believe) some Hellenic factions have the option while I don't... Perhaps this is an artifact of Rome having late units coming after reforms, while other factions with no reforms get access to every possible unit they can build as soon as they build up their MICs?
    They can get them in Hellenic settlements, and they can get them in their homelands after the Marian reform (I think...)

    3) Not so much a question as a comment: the FAQ says that the AI doesn't spam slingers. In my game, the Celtic factions and Epirus do. Epirus is the worst offender, keeping their two cities at population 500 as they crank out more and more slingers and archers. For most of the game a stack has been sitting outside one city, fifteen units of which nine are slingers. Recently another stack came out to sit next to them, nine units of which seven are slingers and two are archers. The Celts may be getting better, it's hard to tell as their war is in a bloody and active phase at the moment. But for quite some years my spies saw armies moving around consisting entirely of Lugoae and slingers in roughly equal proportions.
    That's strange, I haven't seen that with either Epeiros or the Celtic factions myself. I did see the Romani recruit armies with droves of slingers in one campaign, but that was because I had raided some of their cities and destroyed their barracks, and they can always get their slingers from their governors' residence.

  4. #4

    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by jhhowell
    1) Archers - why should I build any? To the best of my knowledge, they are inferior to slingers in every way - lower range, less ammo, weaker stats (esp. accounting for slingers AP), and needing the same or higher level MIC. Since EB skirmishers vaporize elephants, the fire arrow ability just isn't much of an attraction (anti-elephant duty was all I ever used it for in vanilla, anyway). I'm probably missing something, though.
    Archers beat slingers, slingers beat heavy infantry and heavy cavalry. If you bring a mix of archers and slingers while the enemy only brings slingers, your missile units will generally beat theirs, and then your slingers will be free to tear into the enemy's heavy infantry or cavalry.

    But of course, some of the archers in the west are just plain crap.
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  5. #5
    Member Member Lovejoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    I think we should find a way to differate(zomg sp???) archers from slingers. As it is now, slingers is just the same thing as archers exept stronger and better.

    I recommend having archers fire longer and stonger(?), while slinger fire shorter and weaker, but on the other hand, much faster. They should be cheaper too.

    But what do I know, maybe smoeone else got a better idea`?

  6. #6
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    The barbarian ones make decent light infantry though. It helps to think of them more as an upgrade over the low-end javelin-tossers, they're way less vulnerable to cavalry than most light troops due to their spears, and can still put a real hurting on unarmoured units for little cost.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: missile units

    Thanks for the replies, everyone!

    I'll keep an eye out for eastern varieties of archers as my spies explore Seleukia. It figures that the competent archers would be out that way; so far I've only seen toxitai and looked up the Celtic ones since I'm close to the auxilia MIC level to build them in Marseilles. Though I like Watchman's point - one or two Celtic archers would indeed make nice protectors for slingers, in case some cavalry slips by. Such a clever thought that I wonder if that's what the historical Celts actually did with them...

  8. #8
    EB Token Radical Member QwertyMIDX's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovejoy

    I recommend having archers fire longer and stonger(?), while slinger fire shorter and weaker, but on the other hand, much faster.

    It wouldn't be accurate if we did that. Slingers generally out ranged archers and were more effective against armor. Archers are more effective against unarmored units though, as they are in EB, at least shot for shot.
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  9. #9
    Counter-Revolutionary Member BerkeleyBoi's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    I have also seen celtic factions spam slingers when i was invading the mainland as the casse. full stack armies of the avereni and aediu would have at least half be slingers. made it very hard for my infantry-chariot based army to attack until i lured them into an uphill battle.

    i know this has been talked to death, but i still think slingers mess up the balance of units a little bit. with that said, it is usually up to the player to use self control to not use too many since the ai is usually ineffective with their slinger usage.

  10. #10

    Default Re: missile units

    In my last invasion to Epiros thy stacked lots and lots of slingers but were stupid enought to not build any cavalry or fast spearmans to protect them from my Equites =)



  11. #11
    Amanuensis Member pezhetairoi's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Apparently Epeiros' slingers and archers are only an early-stage thing. Now that I've given them some time to rebuild and divide Greece with KH, they are fielding very well-balanced and quite heavy armies. Missile units are only minor players now. Molosson and Chaonion Agema are now available in their place.


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  12. #12
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    In my campaigns till now everything was fine with the composition of missile troops in the enemy armies. However I have played for longer times only (but repeatedly) Epiros, Makedonia and the Ptolemaioi, my favorite factions.

    I think some changes with the missile troops could indeed be considered. I like the sling and am slinging myself a bit but I have problems with the outstanding performance of the sling in EB, especially the AP feature.

    We have astonishing reports about sling performance from the ancient times and from the American Conquista. They may be true or not but if you look a bit closer to the ballistic formular and compare it with that from arrows and javelins one gets an unpleasant feeling. And when you look at modern examinations what energy is necessary for blunt projectiles to injure armoured personal the uncomfortableness even grows.

    I think a solution could be to lower the reach of slingers drastically, if you don't want to remove the AP attribute. Although a sling can outreach a bow the energy of the stone or glandes at that distances would be very low, too low to be more than an annoyance for an armoured man.
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  13. #13
    Texan Member BigTex's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by geala
    In my campaigns till now everything was fine with the composition of missile troops in the enemy armies. However I have played for longer times only (but repeatedly) Epiros, Makedonia and the Ptolemaioi, my favorite factions.

    I think some changes with the missile troops could indeed be considered. I like the sling and am slinging myself a bit but I have problems with the outstanding performance of the sling in EB, especially the AP feature.

    We have astonishing reports about sling performance from the ancient times and from the American Conquista. They may be true or not but if you look a bit closer to the ballistic formular and compare it with that from arrows and javelins one gets an unpleasant feeling. And when you look at modern examinations what energy is necessary for blunt projectiles to injure armoured personal the uncomfortableness even grows.

    I think a solution could be to lower the reach of slingers drastically, if you don't want to remove the AP attribute. Although a sling can outreach a bow the energy of the stone or glandes at that distances would be very low, too low to be more than an annoyance for an armoured man.
    A nearly 1lb lead bullet being thrown at over 100/mh will cause severe damage when it hits. Lamelar and other cloth types of armors are not going to soften the hit enough, they wont let it through but it wont cushion you. Same with chain mail. If that bullet hits your head you are most likely going down. The AP is definately deserved.
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  14. #14
    Member Member Thaatu's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Were slingers actually used as units, or were they just individual skirmishers? I've always thought that slingers were harassers in the battlefield, not part of a strict unit like archers.

    The thing with sling bullets vs. arrows is that even a glancing hit from an arrow most likely puts a man down, because it causes blood loss. Of course a lead bullet to the temple could kill you, but wouldn't an arrow do the same with more certainty? What I'd suggest is at least reduce the amount of bullets most slingers have. 40 bullets compared to 15 arrows, what most archers got, is a little too wide of a gap.

  15. #15
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Lamellar had nothing to do with "cloth armour" you know. The stuff's virtually rigid.

    Anyway, if I've understood correctly a hit from a slingstone or -bullet that still retains decent amounts of energy is by and large comparable to getting hit by a (small-headed) mace or hammer, and generally an unpleasant experience even in armour. Good armour should in most cases absorb enough of the impact to keep the injury inflicted to tolerable levels (eg. cracked ribs and massive bruise instead of a busted lung and massive internal bleeding), but the old brainbox always had trouble with this sort of thing even with far more substantial helmets than were used in the context. The head was always the primary target for maces after all, which were also just about the melee weapon Numbah Uno for dealing with heavily armed opponents.
    The Conquistadors apparently found slingstones tended to cause concussion, blindness and/or death through even highly developed steel helmets with alarming regularity, and IIRC there's something similar in that one scene of Cervantes' Don Quihote when the intrepid hero manages to land himself in trouble with a bunch of shepherds (his less than awesome equipement nonwithstanding). I've also read Medieval armies found slingers particularly useful in sieges, since the most that could usually be seen of the defenders over the crenellations was the head...
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  16. #16

    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by Thaatu
    Were slingers actually used as units, or were they just individual skirmishers? I've always thought that slingers were harassers in the battlefield, not part of a strict unit like archers.

    The thing with sling bullets vs. arrows is that even a glancing hit from an arrow most likely puts a man down, because it causes blood loss. Of course a lead bullet to the temple could kill you, but wouldn't an arrow do the same with more certainty? What I'd suggest is at least reduce the amount of bullets most slingers have. 40 bullets compared to 15 arrows, what most archers got, is a little too wide of a gap.
    Arrows are far easier to protect yourself against with armor. Well, as long as we aren't talking longbows anyway. Arrows don't damage with their impact but with penetration; lead bullets just inflict blunt force trauma, and that is far harder to protect yourself against. And honestly, you can carry a lot more bullets than arrows, and sometimes even pick up stones on the battlefield when those are depleted. The ammo difference seems very reasonable to me.
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  17. #17
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Longbows are pansies compared to composites.

    As regards the ammunition, stones and lead bullets are small and would presumably be easy enough to carry around. But I'll admit I find the low ammunition capacity of many archers to be rather odd. Sure, 15-20 arrows would be downright excessive for hunting, but you'd think they brought a lot more along into war - AFAIK some infantry quivers could hold closer to 40 arrows or so... arrow expenditure on the battlefield tended to be pretty massive after all.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

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  18. #18

    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman
    Longbows are pansies compared to composites.

    As regards the ammunition, stones and lead bullets are small and would presumably be easy enough to carry around. But I'll admit I find the low ammunition capacity of many archers to be rather odd. Sure, 15-20 arrows would be downright excessive for hunting, but you'd think they brought a lot more along into war - AFAIK some infantry quivers could hold closer to 40 arrows or so... arrow expenditure on the battlefield tended to be pretty massive after all.
    My guess is it is lower due to the lower scale of the battles, to model battles lasting significantly longer than what we see in game.
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  19. #19
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Nahh, doesn't hold water. Assorted javelineers' ammo reserves for comparision depend more or less solely and directly on what the individual warrior carries, and horse-archers have pretty deep quivers. The same goes for the ammo-pouches of slingers. Why would infantry archers be the sole exception, all the more so as they habitually recycled enemy arrows (then again that really goes for javelineers too...) ?
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

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  20. #20

    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman
    Nahh, doesn't hold water. Assorted javelineers' ammo reserves for comparision depend more or less solely and directly on what the individual warrior carries, and horse-archers have pretty deep quivers. The same goes for the ammo-pouches of slingers. Why would infantry archers be the sole exception, all the more so as they habitually recycled enemy arrows (then again that really goes for javelineers too...) ?
    Well battles in real life lasted a heck of a lot longer than they do in EB. So each EB arrow might correspond to 3 real life arrows? And perhaps the gameplay has played a part too...
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  21. #21
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Like I said, that argument would be inconsistent with the ammunition allowance of all missile-armed troops besides foot archers.
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  22. #22
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    We should do some calculations, please.

    The most common glandes weighted between 50 and 80 gr.. Ranges up to 300metres might possibly be reached with it. Please take a look to www.slinging.org if you want more infromation.

    Not to use complicated formulars one can estimate the velocity of the bullets: it must be under, but perhaps near 50 m/s (that is really very much, heavier glandes of course did not reach this velocity). With an 80 gr. glandes you get an E0 of 100 Joule ( I don't think the energy was really as high but this is not so important now). That is the energy niveau of a strong .22 lfb bullet. Let's add the half and imagine a glandes with 150 J.

    Let's also put the natural laws aside and presume that magically the projectile has that E0 also at the end of its trajectory and hits a soldier at 250 metres with 150 J energy. You need at least 20 J per qcm or 120 J per square inch to fracture the human skull at the forehead. I have not measured what is the amount of square inches with what the glandes would hit, but maybe 3 qcm or 0,5 square inches would be a conversative estimation.

    With this as a result it is rather probable that a soldier without a helmet would receive a severe head wound, or a skull fracture, which could easily be deadly. But the soldier with a metall helmet with soft padding inside would even not be knocked unconscious. The helmet delivers the energy of the projectile to a much greater area, making it worthless. The US Army regards an energy of nearly 800 J necessary to render a soldier unconscious or wound him if the helmet is hit. Ancient helmets would have performed worse but the relation is clear.

    If you are not convinced because of the ancient reports being in your mind please consider this: an arrow from a strong longbow normally reaches an energy level of 80 to 120 J. By coincidence the arrows weight about the same as a sling missile and travel with roughly the same velocity. It is no surprise that it hits soldiers with the same energy (and btw the same momentum, if you want to bring into play this obsolete theory). So it is no difference wether you get hit by an arrow or a sling missile: if the arrow is stopped and does not penetrate the body all energy is transformed as blunt energy, but nobody claims that this blunt energy of arrows is devastating.

    Now a word to the 1 lb glandes traveling with 100 mph. That would be 453 gr. with a speed of 45 m/s (I am used to the metric system, sry), resulting in a E0 of 458 J. I think you have the Balearic slingers in mind, using big stones of 1 mnai weight (about 436 gr.) and saving some day for the Carthaginians. I really doubt that anybody in the world would receive this velocity with that heavy load but even at lower velocities such heavy projectiles would be very effective of course. But you cannot reach 200 metres with it in a world with an atmosphere and gravity. Therefore my thought to reduce the range of the EB slingers if the AP attribute is kept. (because I rely strongly on my Greek sphendonetai that would be a catastrophy for me too btw )

    I think at a range of 200 metres the sling missiles were not more armour piercing than the bullets of the Napoleonic soldiers which travel much faster and could not pierce a (very thick) cuirass at 50 metres. Both cannot knock out armoured soldiers.
    The queen commands and we'll obey
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    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  23. #23

    Default Re: missile units


    That's a very compelling, albeit confusing, argument
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  24. #24

    Default Re: missile units

    Geala,

    Those energy numbers you gave are at the point of launch. As soon as a projectile leaves its launcher (bow, sling, gun barrel) it begins to slow down. Irregular shaped/non-aerodynamic objects will slow faster. There are online ballistics calculators to show how much energy a projectile has at different ranges and trajectory as well. I believe you would need to know the BC (ballistic coefficient) of the projectile though...

    Also, are the weights you are giving in grams (g) or grains (gr)?
    Last edited by mcantu; 06-23-2007 at 18:03.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by geala
    By coincidence the arrows weight about the same as a sling missile and travel with roughly the same velocity.
    Arrows and bullets (particularly lead bullets) do not travel at roughly the same velocity. Arrows have far more air resistance slowing them down, which is why they rely on a sharp point to concentrate their smaller impact on and achieve penetration.
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  26. #26
    EB annoying hornet Member bovi's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by mcantu
    Those energy numbers you gave are at the point of launch. As soon as a projectile leaves its launcher (bow, sling, gun barrel) it begins to slow down.
    You miss his point, which I understand as: Even if the projectile magically sailed through the air without resistance, it would not be enough to do the damage, so with resistance it will be even less effective.

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  27. #27
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: missile units

    Then again, I don't think anyone's really proposing an effective range of 300 meters for slings or anything else short of an artillery weapon for that matter. The maximum range a hand weapon could send a projectile to and the effective range - especially against armour - are two very different things after all.

    As for the terminal impact thing, I suspect sling bullets are by far more like musket balls (albeit with generally by far better aerodynamic performance) than arrows. Even with their über-shitty flight characteristics heavy musket balls had notably more penetrative power at long ranges than arrows (although hitting with the unstabilized things was another issue), and retained their energy relatively well due to the combination of high mass and compact size. The same basic principle lies behind modern large-calibre sniper rifles AFAIK.

    Although contemporaries observed balls hitting from a long range felt "like strong punches" and just caused bruising. Then again, the ability of arrows to cause more than superficial injuries - especially against armour - at long distances wasn't exactly the best either...

    But alas the RTW engine does not account for the decrease in projectile effectiveness with distance, so...
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

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  28. #28

    Default Re: missile units

    Quote Originally Posted by bovi
    You miss his point, which I understand as: Even if the projectile magically sailed through the air without resistance, it would not be enough to do the damage, so with resistance it will be even less effective.

    misread it the first time...whoops
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