Reason 346,780,221 why...

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HTRN
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Re: Reason 346,780,221 why...

Post by HTRN » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:50 pm

D5CAV wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:45 pm
Hollywood, of course, loves to idolize the Samurai sword, but as a combat weapon it is only good for terrorizing unarmed peasants.
It evolved to meet local conditions - Japan is incredibly iron poor, an during the era of the Samurai, iron/steel armor was unheard of - irt was just too expensive. Instead, leather armor was the norm, hence the sharp edge on a katana to cut through the leather, vs. The relatively blunt edge ot the typical European broadsword, which was used to bludgeon its way past the armor, or used like an ice pick at exposed joints.
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D5CAV
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Re: Reason 346,780,221 why...

Post by D5CAV » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:15 pm

HTRN wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:50 pm
D5CAV wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:45 pm
Hollywood, of course, loves to idolize the Samurai sword, but as a combat weapon it is only good for terrorizing unarmed peasants.
It evolved to meet local conditions - Japan is incredibly iron poor, an during the era of the Samurai, iron/steel armor was unheard of - irt was just too expensive. Instead, leather armor was the norm, hence the sharp edge on a katana to cut through the leather, vs. The relatively blunt edge ot the typical European broadsword, which was used to bludgeon its way past the armor, or used like an ice pick at exposed joints.

Somewhat off-topic from the original discussion. We should move this to the "blade" forum. It has been discussed before IIRC.

1. "Japan is incredibly iron poor" - true. Why the Samurai sword is designed as it is, with its strengths and weaknesses. In current vernacular "turning a bug into a feature"
2. "iron/steel armor was unheard of" - rare yes, but steel armor was also uncommon in Europe (slightly less so than Japan or China). You had to be wealthy. Most ordinary soldiers in Europe had gambesin and leather as well.
3. "blunt edge of the typical European broadsword" - not true. European broadswords were sharp. I think this myth came from 19th century European military swords which were issued blunt (like the British bayonets), to be sharpened on the way to battle. This was to avoid unpleasantness in peacetime barracks when boredom, liquor and sharp objects were combined. If you buy any 19th century European sword you will find a them described as unsharpened or sharpened. I have both. The sharp ones typically show other signs of hard use (like rust pitting and dings). The unsharpened ones were rarely removed from their scabbards and are usually in very nice shape.
4. "used as an ice pick at exposed joints" - true, but this was not a sword, it a specialized weapon called a "misericorde" or mercy dagger. It was similar to the French Lebel spike bayonet. Thin enough to go between plates of armor and typically cruciform in cross section. It was a like a large ice pick.
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Vonz90
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Re: Reason 346,780,221 why...

Post by Vonz90 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:30 am

D5CAV wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:15 pm
HTRN wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:50 pm
D5CAV wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:45 pm
Hollywood, of course, loves to idolize the Samurai sword, but as a combat weapon it is only good for terrorizing unarmed peasants.
It evolved to meet local conditions - Japan is incredibly iron poor, an during the era of the Samurai, iron/steel armor was unheard of - irt was just too expensive. Instead, leather armor was the norm, hence the sharp edge on a katana to cut through the leather, vs. The relatively blunt edge ot the typical European broadsword, which was used to bludgeon its way past the armor, or used like an ice pick at exposed joints.

Somewhat off-topic from the original discussion. We should move this to the "blade" forum. It has been discussed before IIRC.

1. "Japan is incredibly iron poor" - true. Why the Samurai sword is designed as it is, with its strengths and weaknesses. In current vernacular "turning a bug into a feature"
2. "iron/steel armor was unheard of" - rare yes, but steel armor was also uncommon in Europe (slightly less so than Japan or China). You had to be wealthy. Most ordinary soldiers in Europe had gambesin and leather as well.
3. "blunt edge of the typical European broadsword" - not true. European broadswords were sharp. I think this myth came from 19th century European military swords which were issued blunt (like the British bayonets), to be sharpened on the way to battle. This was to avoid unpleasantness in peacetime barracks when boredom, liquor and sharp objects were combined. If you buy any 19th century European sword you will find a them described as unsharpened or sharpened. I have both. The sharp ones typically show other signs of hard use (like rust pitting and dings). The unsharpened ones were rarely removed from their scabbards and are usually in very nice shape.
4. "used as an ice pick at exposed joints" - true, but this was not a sword, it a specialized weapon called a "misericorde" or mercy dagger. It was similar to the French Lebel spike bayonet. Thin enough to go between plates of armor and typically cruciform in cross section. It was a like a large ice pick.
Notable point, for the samurai in their heyday, their primary weapon was the bow and the sword was a backup. The whole fetish over swords and swordsmanship did not come about until they had really transitioned from a warrior class to a political class and the sword was more of a fitting mark of nobility. A parallel would be the dueling culture in later Europe which was quite disconnected with what was going on in military development.

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