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. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

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    Never forget... On the internet you could be arguing with a 13 yo.
     
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  2. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    We don't really need to compare Samurai to Knights for this comparison to be valid. We should be comparing the whole of a country's military to another. The problem is that the Japanese and the English take such very different evolutionary paths that its very hard to pinpoint a fair comparison point. Again, by the late 1500s, western Europe is outpacing the rest of the world at breakneck speed, but that's also the apex of Japanese military innovation until the Meiji period.

    So perhaps a fair comparison point would be the 14th century? You have both Samurai and European knights existing at the same time, both are fedual societies, both are in the primitive stages of firearm development, and neither has impressive naval capacity.
     
  3. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    14th century CE then chaps!
    If we are discussing the OP though we should compare Samurai to knights unless everyone agrees we need to expand?
     
  4. Badger1777

    Badger1777 Green Belt

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    Early guns were massively inferior to the long bow. In England at least, the only reason the musket slowly started to replace the long bow was that someone could be trained to fire a musket much more quickly than they could be trained to be any good with a bow. It was purely down to cost and manpower. A skilled archer can get off easily 10 accurate shots per minute and the bow is never going to explode in his face. A musketeer could get around 1 to 2 shots per minute, the shots had a shorter range, and there was something like a 1 in 10 chance that the gun would blow up in his face. But, when you needed numbers, and you can train someone in half a day to be a semi decent shot with a musket, that was the way to go. Or at least so thought the English top brass of the day.
     
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  5. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    It was also because musketballs could penetrate plate armor at close range.
     
  6. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Hanzou you don't have to buy anything but..... Samurai armor was designed to be effective against the yumi. Which is a longbow. Yumi war bows have noted to be in that 70 lb to 95 lb range. (though of course that would totally depend on the person and chance if they were on foot or mounted) Bottom line the longbow of the English is comparable to the yumi. Both would penetrate European plate mail armor. Where as Samurai armor is designed for and against arrows. This would give the Samurai an advantage at distance. In close I believe the English knight would have the advantage but just by a little bit. Yet, in the end it would come down to each individual and or group and their performance on that day. Not to mention their leadership making the right decisions at the right time. Not to mention troop strength and size. (how important is that)


    This is in many ways like the TMA vs. MMA arguments, etc.or my dad is better than your dad. Just in this case we will never know because they did not go to battle against each other. One thing is for sure if they did both sides would re-evaluate their strategies quickly and formulate plans accordingly. Both groups were great warriors in their time frame!

    I can appreciate the qualities of both. Yet would take a modern American military infrantryman anyday of the week with his tools and weapons. lol ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
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  7. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    The Yumi is a long bow, but I don't believe it was as powerful as the English longbow. That's up for debate of course, and its a debate I don't feel like having. I was more talking about the claim that Samurai armor was bulletproof. Oda Nobunaga and the Meiji army disproved that. ;)


    I wouldn't say its like the TMA vs MMA arguments. Those arguments are far more entertaining.....

    But yes, I agree with you. With that, I'm hopping out of this conversation. 14th century European and Asian history bores the piss out of me.
     
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  8. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    I remember there being a demonstration of the Japanese bow at the Royal Armouries last time I was there, I think I might make a visit in the next week or so and check out what bows they have and what they think.
     
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  9. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Clarifying so that we are on the same page: I certainly was not claiming that the Samurai armor was bullet proof. (that is ridiculous) Yoroi was specifically designed to deal with arrows. It certainly had capabilities because of it's layers to work like a modern bullet proof vest and provide protection against earlier firearms and even at times stop bullets from early fire arms. Yet, certainly as firearms improved and they improved very quickly it was rendered useless against them. Just like all early armor. Even modern firearm armor is not some thing I wish to stake my life on.
     
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  10. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    I think the main point everybody is missing here is , how would the English War dogs have fared against the Japanese Tiger cavalry.
    The classic rivalry between canine and feline , how would that scenario have played out on the ancient battlefield.
    These are the questions I think that need to be answered.
     
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  11. Badger1777

    Badger1777 Green Belt

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    As patriotic as I am, historically speaking, England's (and later Britain's) success in warfare is based on 3 factors:

    1. A long history of conflict between the various factions that have occupied our small island over the centuries, leaving Britain as a whole 'battle hardened' (not necessarily individuals, but collectively we have a lot of experience of warfare, which I guess is why our American buddies always ask our lads and lasses to lend a hand:)

    2. Being an island nation, we kind of had to develop a good navy, and much of that navy was used for piracy (Elizabeth the 1st used to pay sailors to go stealing, but they were under strict rules not to fly any flags or standards that linked them to England, and the official line was that anyone found guilty would be executed). So England, and Britain as a whole, became rich enough to pay for good military.

    3. Alliances in Europe through diplomacy including through marriage, combined with the ability to pay our way, and the aforementioned willingness towards state sanctioned theft, meant we got to take over much of the planet for a while.

    So who would have won if the Brits and the Japanese had clashed? The Brits. The Brits could pay for extra help along the way, and would have had the money and influence to bring a huge number of oppressed Chinese on board, who hated the Japanese anyway. Quite simply, we would have been able to drum up better support and most importantly, better local support.
     
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  12. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Fully agree with all but one point; this one

    Since the post is talking "Ancient times" the Chinese were not oppressed by Japan nor did they hate them in ancient times, had some issues with Japanese Pirates, but that is about it. That oppression by the Japanese and dislike of them starts to appear around the late 1800s but that comes an equal dislike for most western powers including the Brits. But the actual dislike of the Japanese (over western powers) really starts to ramp up at the end of the Qing Dynasty (early 1900s) and goes full on hatred pre-World War II until the present.123
     
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