How did the Spanish beat the Aztec with weak guns?

Discussion in 'General Weapons Discussion' started by Cobra, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. Cobra

    Cobra Guest

    As everyone knows, the Spanish defeated the Aztec. The Spanish had about 100 men during the battle too. The Aztec much more. Why did Spanish win? Almost everyone there where many factors like disease, rivals helped Spanish, and so forth but what was the biggest contributer was guns. But what doesn't make any sense was how was those weak one shot take a long time to reload guns beat dead accuarate Aztec spears and bows.

    Guns back then where bad. They could only be used as a one shot gun and it took a long time to reload them. Sure, they were leathal whan fired, but with the amount of time it takes to reload, it would seem it would be useless especially when they towards victory time with very few men.

    Now you look at the weapons of the Aztec weaponry, they had bows and spears. but the diference was archers can be much more accurate with bow back then and with spears than to fire those slow gun of that time. One shot =equals out of the battle wether dead or not. And they didn't have to be reloaded with gun powder an all that bullets which would take a long time to reload like I said. So how did the Spanish win with fewer men?

    Now that I look at it, guns may have nothing to do with the victory. Maybe the Aztec had bad tatics which was a theory or anything else but it would only seem guns would weaken the Spanish due to there speed.
    So what do you guys think?
     
  2. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Your right guns had very little to do with the victory. The Spaniards had somehow fit the profile for a "religious prophecy" long fortold by the Aztec preists. Barly a shot was fired before the whole Aztec Kingdom was handed over to the Spanish. And the raping and pillaging commenced!
    Sean
     
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  3. RCastillo

    RCastillo Guest

    If I'm correct, they had horses as well. Make s adifference, don't ya think? :asian:
     
  4. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    Cobra, not everyone knows everything you know. Nor do I expect you to know everything I know. I just thought you should think about that as well.


    As to the subject, the Spanish could have used lines where they always had a team ready to fire. It would only take a single rush to realize that this is not prudent. The issue of Horses also makes a difference as well as you said the locals fighting each other, and the local prophecy was an issue as well. There was also as mentioned that the Spanish brought with them sicknesses that killed people like measles and chicken pox. They also used tactics and armor that was not seen before. A thrown spear that bounced off os metal chest plate would be scary if you never seen that before.

    Many things contibuted.
     
  5. Cobra

    Cobra Guest

    I agree. But guns I was the least factor. It was the disease and tatics along with help from Aztec rivalies (Spanish was much more few in numbers).

    Spears bouncing of chest plates though? That is damn strong! Those are the same spears that took mamoths down few thousand years ago. Are you sure those chest plated were that strong, or were you overexagerating. If their armour was that strong enough, I can see why the Aztec were failing in battle.
     
  6. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    Cobra, Cobra, Cobra,

    Mamoths? and thousands of years ago? All the same?

    Many of the tribes had ritualized battle in South America and also in Africa. As for the Aztechs, I am not sure, and do not wish to mis-type if they were or not ritualized. Yet the spears were not those used like pikes, nor were they bill hooks, nor were the long blade used by Shaka Zulu which changed war fair on the Africa Continent as well. If the spear or javalin was small and light to fly and was used in numbers to take down large animals.

    Also imagine this, you have never seen a gun.

    You do not know it's fire rate nor range.

    You just know these thunder sticks knock your warriors down with no effort and from range and one hit, no matter what shield you use. This is a tactic of fear and the unknown to your opponent.
     
  7. loki09789

    loki09789 Senior Master

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    Good points RIch, also consider that there were certain rituals and decorums within tribal warfare that the Conquestadors would not have bothered with. Being mounted on horses also left the impression of monster or god in the eyes of the natives.

    Volley fire was the tactic of the time, combined with supporting units of CQB fighters and charging cavalry. Sort of an early version of 'combined arms' that is employed today with artillery, air strikes, machine gun/small arms.... all working in a coordinated effort.

    Don't underplay the armor issue, Cobra. Try playing football (american) without 'armor' against someone who is, or stick sparring someone with WEKAF armore while you are 'naked'. Add to that, the firearms, the technologically superior steel that didn't chip or knock as easily as softer steel and wooden clubs studded with animal teeth....

    Think about the psychological impact of tanks on infantry troops - who know about such technology - on the battlefield. Really sucks.

    Fire superiority is as much psychological as it is physical. Anything that stuns the enemy, makes them doubt, loose their agressive will.... including bizaar, shocking behaviors and 'unbelievable' survival of a sure fire attack that has killed you enemies in the past can have a 'fire superiority' impact on the Aztecs
     
  8. someguy

    someguy Master Black Belt

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    The Aztecs had long bows correct? Long bow even with a stone arrow head goes through metal armor usually. Yes I'm making generalizations so sue me. Wait you might win.

    Now back several thousand years
    As to taking mamoths down I'm pretty sure it wasn't just run up throw a couple spears into the mamoth and bam dead mamoth. Often times cliff drives as well as traping mamoths in stuff worked to there advantages.
     
  9. loki09789

    loki09789 Senior Master

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    Oh no, not tactics/tools/technique arguments again :)
     
  10. someguy

    someguy Master Black Belt

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    Bwahahahaha you can never escape the tactic/tools/techniques argument.
     
  11. loki09789

    loki09789 Senior Master

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    No one can escape the Spanish Inquisition.......
     
  12. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yes, this thread does seem a bit like a Monty Python skit.
    Sean (www.iemat.com)
     
  13. dearnis.com

    dearnis.com Master Black Belt

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    See the discussion in Victior Davis Hanson's Culture and Carnage for a decent discussion of this campaign.
    Also note that the Spanish had steel cutting weapons, armor, and a ruthlessness that the Aztecs lacked.
     
  14. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    As pointed out tactics and techniques were used.

    What would be your first target if you had a gun and they had a bow in some hands and spears in others? I would go for the bowman. Yet, I would have to see the bow in questions before I would say it had the same range and capability as a Japanese long bow and Western European Long Bow. Just my thought that they were not recurve bows.

    I would be interested.
     
  15. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    I wouldn't say the Spanish were more ruthless than the Aztecs. The Aztecs had no problem sacraficing tens of thousands of people a year to their gods. The Spanish just had better weapons and a way of thinking that the Aztecs were not acustomed to. The Aztecs were not bent on conquering foreign lands, just harvesting local tribes for sacrificial victims. It was a kinder, gentler ruthlessness.
    sean
     
  16. dearnis.com

    dearnis.com Master Black Belt

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    Hanson's thesis, which I found credible, was that the Aztecs were accustomed to a stylized warfare and a culture where surrounding tribes would accept a certain amount of predatory explotation. The Spanish were willing to practice total war in a manner foreign to the Aztecs.
     
  17. someguy

    someguy Master Black Belt

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    I don't know much about the Aztecs but I do know that some NAtive American tribes in the SW had bows that could puncture steel armor. To counter this at some point or another (when the colonies were already step up) the spaniards started wearing layered leather apparently. As to the source it comes from a lecture from a professor that visited my college. I can't think of his name.
    My question is how does layred leather stop something that steel can't stop? I belive the guy I just don't understand it.
     
  18. OULobo

    OULobo Senior Master

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    On the bow issue, it really comes down to the physics of the armor. While an arrow may have the ability to punch through steel there is a lot to consider. The type of steel, the thickness of the steel, the strength of the bow, the arrowhead material, the angle of impact, ect. The prey of the common Aztec before the coming of the Spanish, be it man or beast, wasn't wearing steel. So it is easy to assume that their arrows were not up efficient enough to puncture steel, much less the refined and angled steel the Spanish were wearing.

    I believe the layered leather was due to the conditions that they were working in. The heat and humidity of the tropics made steel armor hard to wear and maintain.

    I think one of the most effective ways the Spaniards were able to conquer in the Americas was already mentioned. Horses. Cavalry is intimidating, fast and powerful.
     
  19. dearnis.com

    dearnis.com Master Black Belt

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    Keep in mind that for an arrow to pierce armor it needs a metal tip; The only metal the Aztecs were working at the time of the Spanish conquest was gold.
     
  20. OULobo

    OULobo Senior Master

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    Metal is not required to peirce metal, although it would help an awful lot. Just about any material if in the right design and at the right pressures could puncture metal. Look at pieces of straw that puncture telephone poles in tornado winds. You're right in that I don't think the Aztecs actually had any means of applying sufficient force to puncture steel of the grade the Spaniards used with flint or wood, the most common and hardest materials of the native weapons.123
     

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