Who were superior at combat in ancient times? The Japanese or the British?

Discussion in 'General Weapons Discussion' started by Towel Snapper, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    The kingdoms were Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Wessex. The latter were the ones who managed to more or less unite England apart from the Danegeld, they were barely holding it together when William arrived. Essex, Kent and Sussex are still counties here, and Northumbria now being called Northumberland.


    Ireland and Scotland were the same in that they had different kingdoms, sometimes at war sometimes not. Sometimes it would just be playing. In Ireland though the current Troubles started with Henry the Eighth though English kings had fought there it was never about religion until he tried to force Protestantism on them then it began and carries on now.
     
  2. donald1

    donald1 Senior Master

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    What do you mean...?
     
  3. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Although we talk of 'France' there really was no such place until after the 100 years war which helped to unify France as a country. It too was divided into states such as Aquitaine, Burgundy, Normandy etc. Some of it such as Calais belonged to the English crown. It was the same all over Europe, many different states and kingdoms. Italy didn't become Italy until Garibaldi came along.
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Okay, fair enough… with the OP's lack of specification in their usage of terminology, and the lack of capitalisation, I was taking it as representative, rather than a specific referenced time period.

    You're missing, well, a hell of a lot to make such a statement. For one thing, the usage of archers, particularly long-bows, was a fair point of difference for the English… most of Europe considered the usage of bows and arrows to be cowardly ways of fighting for the elite… which, when utilised well, can show up as a major advantage (such as Agincourt… which, to be frank, the English should never have won)… however, in Japan, archery was the order of the day… in fact, not just archery, but mounted archery… which would give them an advantage over the English longbowmen… Japanese armour was designed specifically to protect against arrows…

    Again, you might be putting too much stock in variables you're not fully cognisant of…

    At which point Japan had more guns in use and production that all of Europe, you realise… including forms of cannons… not so much the European format… mainly as the requirements for cannons to be effective wasn't really a major practicality for Japanese warfare, on a number of levels.

    Ah, son, you're making assumptions based on a lack of knowledge… and looking at exactly the wrong thing… there's no idea of "stronger" fortifications… but the entire structure and set up means that the siege tactics of Europe would have had little to no effect.

    The Japanese were specialist mounted archers… no advantage to your English longbow… the siege tactics are not applicable to Japanese castles… no advantage… and the Japanese were actually pretty solid on siege warfare (appropriate to their needs) themselves… again, no advantage…

    As far as your estimations of timeline and development, I really see no support for any of your contentions whatsoever… especially the idea of "it really isn't a contest" by the late 1500's… a time when Japan had been in non-stop war for longer than all of Europe, were producing more guns than all of Europe, and were successfully invading/engaging in campaigns in other countries.

    So seriously… what?

     
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  5. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    Dam, I wished I had got to this thread before the OP's ban. Guess it is just the Essex Boy in me.
     
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  6. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Shut up!

    (Not being rude it's an Essex expression of incredulity and surprise and wonderment and well everything roflmao.)
     
  7. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    LOL. Yeah man :D
     
  8. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    Whether or not Europeans viewed it as cowardly is pretty irrelevant to the overall point; The Longbow essentially ended the use of heavily armored calvary in European warfare after Agincourt. Also knight's armor was also designed to protect against arrows as well. It still wasn't every effective against the longbow.


    Please provide evidence for this. I would very much like to see evidence that Japan produced more guns and cannons than England, France, Spain, Portugal, Dutch, and the Holy Roman Empire combined at the end of the 16th century.

    Based on what exactly? Please provide evidence.

    Actually the advantage is still there because the Japanese samurai were heavy horse archers. In other words, the would fire a volley of arrows and then charge their opponent. Those tactics aren't much different than French tactics in the Hundred Years War. So yes, the Longbow advantage is still in place.

    Evidence please.

    Are you oblivious to what is occurring in Europe at this time? By the 1500s, Europe has entered the age of expansion and empire. At this point Europe is exploring and conquering the entire world while Japan is mired in a centuries old civil war. An internal civil war does not advance military technology as rapidly as external warfare does.

    Btw, how's Japan's navy circa 1550? If you honestly believe that the 16th century Japanese navy was any match for the English navy of the same period, then there's no point in continuing this conversation.

    I already backed it up. Again, warfare with other countries advances your military tech faster than civil wars do. English fighting against the Muslims during the Crusades, and continental Europe throughout the middle ages gives them access to military advancements throughout the European continent and the Middle East. This propels European military advancement.

    If you need an example, here's a simple one; Who do you think introduced guns to Japan? It wasn't the Chinese.

    If you need more, let me know.

    I've already commented on the advantages of external warfare over civil warfare.
     
  9. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Oh for the love of jam and jelly and joyous little jezebels stop trying to sound like an expert.
     
  10. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ah, we have had long bows, armoured knights, bowmen and swords and now ladies and gentlemen....the personal attack. I take it then you are an expert in which case please enlighten us, I await your treatise with bated breath mon ami.
     
  11. Badger1777

    Badger1777 Green Belt

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    Sorry, I couldn't be bothered to read all 5 pages, so appologies in advance if anything I'm about to say has already been said.

    Its quite comical to think that someone actually believes that 'British Knights' were the entire fighting force, or even the main fighting force, of medieval Britain. The word 'knight' is an honorary title, not a rank or type of soldier. Paul MacCartney is a knight, as Cliff Richard is I believe. Just imagine Paul MacCartney and Cliff Richard riding into battle on horse back wielding broadswords:)

    Most soldiers of medieval Britain were just whoever the able bodied males were. It was mandatory for all boys in England to attend a form of military training known as 'Bill Drill' every sunday. This is where they would assemble in the town/village square armed with farming tools, often the bill-hook (have you ever seen a bill hook? Think of a massive dagger, that massive dagger is a butter knife compared to the blade of a bill hook). There they would do 'drill', ie regimentally practice different moves with the bill hook. These would be the same lads, and the same weapons, that would make up a significant proportion of any English fighting force.

    The Normans were sort of viking. Even the name gives a clue. Vikings, also known as Norse men, ie men of the north, nor-men, norman. The vikings held a massive empire at one point, which extended right into what we now call France. It was those descendents of the vikings that became the Normans who invaded Britain. At that time, Normandy and Brittany were seperate countries and france didn't even exist as a nation.

    But in a way, as has been mentioned, it was kind of a civil war anyway. The vikings, the Normans and all flavours of Brits (except the Roman descendents) have something in common, in that they are all either descended from or directly influenced by the Celts, who came from what we would now call Eastern Europe in ancient times.
     
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  12. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    True. However, (I presume that Samurai armour is one off fitted) most of the French Knights could not afford the elaborate protection allowed by the suits worn by the Dukes and Lords. They could afford the best materials and smithies to make the armour. The average French Knight had to buy off the shelf as it were, and mass produced suits of armour are only as good as the smithie whom made it. Also at Agincourt, a good majority of Knights died as result of being bogged down in mud. In realty, the european suit of armour just looked pretty. Just as many of the French died by the hands of Archers wielding knifes and whatever else came to hand. In some respects, the Long Bowman was the original street fighter. Uncompromising and in fear of his life, not due to cowardice, but knowing what happened when they got caught.
     
  13. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Warfare then as now actually relied not on the knights/officers but the 'boots' on the ground the PBI (poor bloody infantry). Days gone by and in recent times of war these were conscripts, now most places they are volunteers. it was these not the knights, not the Samurai who won and lost wars. I think most have the idea of knights in shiny armour fighting each other using the rules of chivalry etc the truth is more mundane, it was men and often women slogging across muddy fields fighting each other until those with the most standing at the end 'won'. War isn't glorious, never has been, it's death, maiming, grief, fear and confusion, there never was a golden time with knights in bright armour, shining with courage fighting for truth and honour, in fact many knights were mercenaries, fighting for money whoever would employ them. Samurai? I don't know much about them but knowing human nature I doubt they were bright and shining either. War is war, fighting is fighting, never nice and should never be seen through rosy glasses. Who would win, I'd think who ever wanted it more, fighters will use whatever they can to win, and it would probably be very very dirty.
     
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  14. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    To be fair, that situation was similar in Japan as well.

    Its important to note that it wasn't just at Agincourt where knights were cut down by longbowmen, it occurred in other battles as well. Agincourt was simply the coup de grace.



     
  15. Badger1777

    Badger1777 Green Belt

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    Agincourt is such a well told story because of the circumstances of the English victory. The English soldiers were actually on their last legs. Starving, exhausted, many ill with disease, and cut off from anywhere friendly. They were also massively outnumbered, and at a massive disadvantage due to the topology of the land at the point where they had to fight. Yet they won, against all odds. That fight would have gone down in history whether there were archers or not, although I suspect that without archers, things would have gone very differently.

    As an aside, and I doubt if anyone really knows whether this is true or urban myth, but the story goes that the insult of sticking two fingers up at someone originates from the battle of Agincourt, In the wider war that the battle of Agincourt was part of, the English soldiers that captured a french archer often had no means of keeping him prisoner, so they'd simply let them go, but not before ensuring that they'd never use a bow again. To ensure that they never fired a bow again, they'd cut off the index and middle finger off the captured archer. Then as part of mandatory psychological warfare taunts before an actual battle, archers would stick two finger up at the enemy to say "look, I still have them". Or so the story goes. It might be completely made up.
     
  16. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    The reason I brought up the Longbow in this discussion is because its considered a medieval super weapon. Again, it effectively ended the era of heavily armored cavalry in Europe, and slowly ushered in the era of long range weapons which eventually culminated with the gun.

    Unless the samurai are somehow superior to their European counterparts, I don't see how they would have fared much better.
     
  17. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    One thing you have to understand about the Samurai and their armor was that they were mounted archers with a longbow. (ie. Yumi) There armor was different than a European knights in that the armor was many layers of material and metal. Think of it was similar in some ways to our modern ballistic vests used by our military, law enforcement to help against bullets. The Samurai armor or Yoroi was specifically designed with layers and their shields were as Chris mentioned built in. There armor was specifically designed to stop ballistic weapons such as arrows and in later stages the O'Yoroi was ballistically sound to even at times stop bullets. So you can see the armor is very different than European armor.

    Japanese armour - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  18. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    Agreed.
     
  19. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    Eh... I don't buy that. In the batlle of Nagashino in 1575 for example, Oda Nobunaga used arquebusiers armed with muskets to repel several samurai charges. The battle was so decisive that many consider it the turning point of Japanese warfare. That battle is pretty close to the Japanese version of Agincourt where the era of heavily armored cavalry (in this case Samurai) become obsolete. So while its cool to say that Samurai armor could stop bullets and arrows, the Japanese still used bows and arrows in warfare, and the samura's armor didn't stop them from getting cut down in a hail of gunfire both during the latter Sengoku period, or the Samurai rebellions of the Meiji Period three centuries later.

    Its important to also note that the muskets the Japanese used at the battle of Nagashino and throughout the latter Sengoku period (the Arquebus) were first developed in Europe in the 15th century.
     
  20. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Are we taking any definitive date for comparison purposes? We can't really compare the knights of the 10th and 12th century CE with Samurai from the 16th for example. Is it possible we can set a century at least for debate?123
     

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