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Old 06-06-2009, 05:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

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EDIT: Specifically, my understanding was that shields diminished in use as armor improved. This is partly because one could forfeit the defense of a shield when encased in heavy plate, but also because two hands were required to wield a weapon with sufficient force to penetrate the opponent's heavy plate.
I should have addressed this earlier. I don't intend to nitpick, but it's important to realize that no weapon is intended to be used to penetrate heavy plate, if avoidable. A sword is just not going to cut plate, and a mace or pick is not going to deliver a finishing blow if it has to get through 20 gauge steel to do it.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

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This link hems and haws on #8, but this looks pretty good:

http://www.thearma.org/essays/TopMyths.htm
No. 13 seems to confirm to what I stated earlier. They state that around tthe 14th century shields started disappearing. The 14th century was the transition from maille to plate, according to here. What you are saying only appears to be true for the Renaissance, or TL 4.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

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I should have addressed this earlier. I don't intend to nitpick, but it's important to realize that no weapon is intended to be used to penetrate heavy plate, if avoidable. A sword is just not going to cut plate, and a mace or pick is not going to deliver a finishing blow if it has to get through 20 gauge steel to do it.
I recall a ARMA video showing a man putting a pick through a plate helm fairly easily. But no, swords won't do that, unless you're talking about the estoc and a joint..
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

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No. 13 seems to confirm to what I stated earlier. They state that around tthe 14th century shields started disappearing.
Actually, it says that around the 14th century, they had finished disappearing.

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The 14th century was the transition from maille to plate, according to here. What you are saying only appears to be true for the Renaissance, or TL 4.
Plate has nothing to do with it. You cannot reliably cut plate or mail with a sword. Heck, good luck cutting leather armor with metal rings or studs using a sword of any sharpness or weight.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

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I recall a ARMA video showing a man putting a pick through a plate helm fairly easily. But no, swords won't do that, unless you're talking about the estoc and a joint..
Even so, it's better to put the pick through the eye grill, or into the neck. Penetrating armor never killed anyone; you want to penetrate flesh.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:53 PM   #16
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

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Of course they used them. I never said otherwise. Shields were obviously quite popular and useful all over the world. It's just a misconception to think warriors were always walking around in the Middle Ages with a sword and shield, when the reality is that two-handed longsword or axe-and-mace or whatnot was probably more reasonable.
There is a large difference between "shields were used" and "dual-wielding was used more."

I believe we can say that polearms were "used more" in China or Europe, just by the nature of large-scale warfare. The question (to me) is whether most combatants equipped with a one-handed weapon filled their off hand with a shield or another one-handed weapon.

That's the part of your statement I disagree with. It might be true for some periods of warfare, but I don't think it's anywhere near a universal or even broadly applicable statement.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:56 PM   #17
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

Shields were in use in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the America's right up through the invention of gun powder and heavy plate.

The primary reason why they're underrepresented in both western and eastern martial arts traditions is that most of the surviving martial arts are designed for civilians, very few people walked around with shields off the battle field.

They were, however, disposable in many of these cultures (certainly not the heavy bronze shields of the Greeks, i.e. the legendary Spartan wife who said, "come back with your shield or on it".)

The vikings in particular didn't expect a shield to survive the fight and trained to use the shield boss as a buckler after the rest of the shield had been destroyed. I'm not sure how much of a standard that was, it is possible that the vikings used particularly light and disposable shields.

I think DR 1 or 2 is quiet reasonable for a viking shield, perhaps twice that for a "fine or very fine" shield; i'm confident that Low Tech will fix it.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:58 PM   #18
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

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Even so, it's better to put the pick through the eye grill, or into the neck. Penetrating armor never killed anyone; you want to penetrate flesh.
The pick went into the helmet more than far enough to leave someone with giant hole in their brain. I'll see if I can find the video. EDIT:Check this one. I don't know if it's the one I saw before, my video player is acting up, but it looks right.

And I know swords (of the non-pointy variety) are a ****ty armor penetrator. But they were still used extensively, as the ARMA article you linked stated, due to their versatility.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

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There is a large difference between "shields were used" and "dual-wielding was used more."

I believe we can say that polearms were "used more" in China or Europe, just by the nature of large-scale warfare. The question (to me) is whether most combatants equipped with a one-handed weapon filled their off hand with a shield or another one-handed weapon.
I know what I would choose. Imagine one guy with a sword and shield. His opponent has a mace and axe. Let's say they close. The guy with a shield can interpose it, but they then have the same ability to smack each other in the head. If they circle, the shield guy has to avoid direct blows. The axe or mace will dismantle his shield in a few blows, leaving just the boss. If they keep their distance, the two weapon guy has a superior offense. If they close, the two weapon guy has the option of simply overwhelming his opponent by trading blows. Now, hopefully, the shield guy is skilled at maintaining his distance, and is also skilled at pushing his opponent back with the shield if necessary. But I want you to imagine these two guys rolling the dirt, each one striking each other at the head, one slugging the other with his mace and axe, bang-bang-bang, nearly twice as fast as his opponent. The shield offers good protection, but it is not a killing weapon.

If you look at history, you can see two weapons time and again. Sword and rondel, katana and wakizashi or tanto, escrima sticks. Very few man to man dueling styles involve a shield. The buckler was just one choice for the duelist, and not one that ever eclipsed other options. You have the main gauche. Sai are used in pairs, as are butterfly swords. In personal combat, the superior weapon tends to either be used in pairs, or to have good reach with versatility (longsword, quarterstaff, naginata, etc).

Shields were dominant among the Roman legions, the Greek heroics, especially the Spartans. They demphasized the individual, because they were armed for group warfare. Shields were used to create a portable wall and to protect against hurled weapons and arrows. Shields were also used with the lance in Europe, because it was a suitable match for the lance or a cavalry weapon.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: DR of shields? Why so much higher than ordinary slab of wood?

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I know what I would choose. Imagine one guy with a sword and shield. His opponent has a mace and axe. Let's say they close. The guy with a shield can interpose it, but they then have the same ability to smack each other in the head. If they circle, the shield guy has to avoid direct blows. The axe or mace will dismantle his shield in a few blows, leaving just the boss.
I don't know what sort of people you're postulating here, but hacking a shield to pieces in a few blows isn't something people can automatically do against a resisting opponent. Sure, in the real world, the shield has less DR and HP than the Basic Set would give him, but it's still a pretty tough piece of wood and it may have iron bands and rim.

It takes a lucky blow or extraordinary strength and skill to utterly destroy a shield in a few seconds. And while you're doing that, the other person will be after your flesh, not your gear.

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Originally Posted by pawsplay View Post
If they keep their distance, the two weapon guy has a superior offense. If they close, the two weapon guy has the option of simply overwhelming his opponent by trading blows. Now, hopefully, the shield guy is skilled at maintaining his distance, and is also skilled at pushing his opponent back with the shield if necessary. But I want you to imagine these two guys rolling the dirt, each one striking each other at the head, one slugging the other with his mace and axe, bang-bang-bang, nearly twice as fast as his opponent. The shield offers good protection, but it is not a killing weapon.
A shield is a weapon. A solid block of limewood with someone's entire weight behind it will serve very well to knock people back or even down. And unlike a mace or axe, a shield can strike short snapping blows while still being effectively interposed between you and the other guy.

And while one hit with a shield might not kill people, someone stunned by a broken nose or knocked down by a hard check is someone who is unlikely to defend against the next sword thrust.

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If you look at history, you can see two weapons time and again. Sword and rondel, katana and wakizashi or tanto, escrima sticks. Very few man to man dueling styles involve a shield. The buckler was just one choice for the duelist, and not one that ever eclipsed other options. You have the main gauche. Sai are used in pairs, as are butterfly swords. In personal combat, the superior weapon tends to either be used in pairs, or to have good reach with versatility (longsword, quarterstaff, naginata, etc).
That shows that a lot of sports or arts use two weapons, not that they're the most effective combination. Duelling weapons aren't the best weapons of a culture, they're what civilians carry or what has a certain fashion cachet. Duelling pistols were utterly outclassed by the rifles of the era and a dress smallsword isn't much use against anyone with a proper weapon, but fashion and convenience dictated that these weapons would be popular with duelists.

Of course civilised dandies didn't lug a bloody great shield around while about town, but put a duelist with his rapier and main-gauche against a sword-and-board man and he'd be at a great disadvantage.

On a battlefield, where the side with inferior weapons and doctrine tended to lose in the most Darwinian of selection processes, most soldiers have had two-handed weapons. If they do not, they'll tend to have a shield. That's because a shield is more broadly useful than another weapon, being servicable as cover against missiles as well as being a secondary weapon.

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Shields were dominant among the Roman legions, the Greek heroics, especially the Spartans. They demphasized the individual, because they were armed for group warfare. Shields were used to create a portable wall and to protect against hurled weapons and arrows. Shields were also used with the lance in Europe, because it was a suitable match for the lance or a cavalry weapon.
All warfare deemphasises the individual. It's because, well, a bunch of guys working together tend to slaughter a bunch of guys all doing their own thing.

But shield use isn't a result of that. That development led to pikes, musket and artillery. Shields were also used by cultures that tended to idealise individual combatants.

Vikings carried shields to war and at home they fought duels with shields and whatever other weapon they chose. The only reason to be caught without one was if you felt the need to carry an axe big enough to hack through maille.

Gauls weren't the biggest fans of disciplined warfare according to our boy Big C, but their warriors still carried shields. And why shouldn't they? A shield is a nice thing to have when you're running around nekkid and painted blue. ;)
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