Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


This is coolbert:

Thanks to John M. here for the tip to this web site.

A web site with an interesting title.


Weaponry, the most lethal and dangerous [?] from ancient and medieval times. The top ten.

The weapons, "badassed", as they say, listed, not in any specific order I would think, are:

10. Culverin.

9. Caltrop.

8. Boiling Oil.

7. Arbalest.

6. Hunga Munga.

5. Morning Star.

4. Dead bodies.

3. Trebuchet.

2. Greek fire.

1. Scythed chariot.

As usual, here are my comments:

Here is a photo of the arbalest from the "badass" site

another photo putting the proper size of the "device" in context. A crossbow type weapon that fired a SPEAR [javelin], not just a bolt [the arrow fired from a crossbow is normally called a BOLT.]

With regard to the crossbow, here is what Suvorov has to say:

"However amusing the reader may find this, the crossbow is in fact a terrible weapon which can put an arrow right through a man at a great distance and with great accuracy. Specialist believe that, at the time when the crossbow was competing with the musket, the musket came off best only because it made such a deafening noise that this had a greater effect on the enemy than the soft whistle of an arrow from a crossbow. But in speed of firing, accuracy, and reliability the crossbow was superior to the musket, smaller in size and weight, and killed people just as surely as the musket."

Oil boils at a temperature exceeding that of water. Is thicker and clings better too. Getting boiling oil underneath armor must have been just the most terrible experience. Exposed to the enemy, burning up with oil, tearing the armor off, writhing on the ground in agony, etc. A wound like that is particularly susceptible to infection. If you did not die from the burns, shock, etc., infection and death was a strong possibility.

Dead bodies, flung into a besieged city, can pose a problem for the attacker as well as the defender. Disease, spread by biological pathogens, can come back to strike down those outside the walls as well as those inside. The same with bacteriological warfare today. Unless you have an antidote to the pathogen and inoculate your own people, the illness can spread and kill YOUR OWN PEOPLE!!

I was especially intrigued by the hunga munga. I would have thought that a creation of Hollywood prop creators. NOT a weapon to be found in the real world. WAS used in Africa by warring tribes [prior to the advent of the AK-47]. Is both a THROWING weapon and a SLASHING weapon. I can imagine an entire form of martial art developing around the use of the hunga munga [Buffy did employ a hunga munga in her various duels with vampires. But that is fiction - - right!!]

And this stuff [ancient and medieval weaponry] is coming back into fashion too. ONLY yesterday the Chicago Tribune carries an on-the-scene report from a journalist traveling in Kenya. Lots of tribal warfare going on right now, as we speak. The writer tells of gangs of "youths" armed in the medieval manner, with spears, bows and arrows, and machetes' [called a panga in Africa].

I guess whatever works, works!?




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