Switch Theme:

Why ranged combat is impractical  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
»
Author Message
Advert


Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
  • No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
  • Times and dates in your local timezone.
  • Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
  • Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
  • Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.




Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Annandale, VA

I'm sorry, Ernestas, but that video is pop-history. The failure of low-powered .38-caliber revolvers to stop drugged-up Moros was a large part of the Army's move to a .45-caliber handgun. And even with inadequate equipment (note that the US Army didn't officially procure shotguns until WW1- the use of revolvers and commercially-bought shotguns in the Philippines was makeshift, not specialized), the US inflicted kill ratios in excess of 35:1. Not against 'children, women, men, old people', but physically-fit fighting-age combatants.

Modern intermediate-caliber rifles are not weaker than Hague-compliant spitzer projectiles in full-sized rifle calibers. Those older rounds have higher kinetic energy, but regularly overpenetrate and waste it. .223 and 5.45 are designed to yaw on impact and cause high transfer of kinetic energy. This makes them more comparable in terminal effect to the rounded lead slugs used in prior eras- for reference, the English .577/.450 Martini rifle had no trouble against Zulus on a cocktail of intelezi, dagga, beer, and fly agaric.

I have seen the terminal effects of .223 against the human body first-hand. Nobody, no matter how much khat they've been chewing or panzerschokolade they've been downing, will survive 'entire magazines' of fire. As soon as one round clips a lung, comes within an inch of the heart or spine, or hits the upper half of the skull, you are done.

Oh, and they're not less accurate either. Not only has propellant and bullet design improved to the point where MOA groups are practical with service weapons (something that only the Finns did, prior to WW2), but modern optics provide an enormous force multiplier. The limitation on rifle accuracy has always been the shooter, not the weapon. You do run into extreme cases when Pashtun insurgents are chucking .303s at you from a kilometer away and .223 can't reach back, but that's neither effective fire nor particularly representative of modern combat.

So your average modern soldier carries a weapon with higher rate of fire, greater lethal effect, and better accuracy than the long-arms used a century ago. And yet with those century-old weapons, in unfamiliar territory and adverse conditions, the US Army managed to inflict heavily disproportionate casualties on drugged-up melee combatants.

Bear in mind that a .223 rifle is, effectively, a melee weapon. It can be used at any range, right up to physical contact with the enemy, and delivers far more kinetic energy on impact than any primitive weapon is capable of. If you really are liable to be fighting in point-blank close-quarters operations, you put a bayonet on it- not so much as a weapon as to prevent unwanted manipulation.

There is no plausible context in which melee-armed combatants can threaten modern soldiers. You have to get into pure magic (ie 'nothing stops them except a headshot' zombies) for that to be the case. It's fine that 40K runs on rule of cool, but don't go looking for realism.

Edit: Also, stopping power is a myth and pulse lasers don't burn holes, they cause miniature explosions through thermal shock. Cauterizing or not, their terminal effects are described as comparable to modern rifle rounds, at least in the novels I've read (Cain/Gaunt's Ghosts).

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2020/02/11 15:46:09


 
   
Made in us
The Last Chancer Who Survived




On moon miranda.

 Ernestas wrote:
This works...if pain is the only thing we are talking about. Bullets that burst lungs and open major arteries are going to leave a combatant incapable no matter how angry and resistant to pain they are. No drug is going to keep someone going if their blood pressure collapses in the space of a couple seconds and stops reaching the brain. Nobody is going to keep charging with a kneecap blown off or a femur shattered. Losing an arm is a gigantic problem for someone wanting to engage in close combat.


The issue is how fast melee combat is. Even if you puncture major arteries, person will still keep running. It is great analogy with headless chicken. You can cut head off a chicken, but it will still keep running for God's sake for quite a while. This is what I mean by brain not realizing that it is dead. This is what I mean that it can be remarkably difficult to kill a charging beserker with range fire, especially one without kinetic force. Even if body is most definitely dead it will just keep on coming until from its own inertia and that is even worse. Your soldiers will panic, your troops will stay focused on a dead, harmless man and will fire more ammunition than it is necessary thus ignoring other targets. In melee combat, everything is decided within seconds. It can take under 10 seconds for charging units to cover 100 meter distance and it takes seconds to obliterate your lines if they get into melee.
A chicken head and a human head are very different things, and a human head draws a whole lot more blood and the human brain is a far more complex and necessary object than a chicken's brain stem. If the right artery is hit, a person is going down very quickly indeed and absolutely is not going to charge 100 meters and successfully engage in combat. A brain doesnt need to realize its dead for it to be combat incapable.


It's really easy to inflict such wounds, and historical examples of suicidal combatants (modern IS forces, WW2 Japanese, WW1 human wave attacks, etc) have proven the primacy of firepower on every occasion.


Not exactly. Modern combat had proven that even stone age technology warriors pose serious threat to modern soldiers. If they are properly drugged and conditioned, it will take entire magazines to stop one such beserker and such sights will wreak havoc upon your troops.

This video shows what happens when you have such soldiers properly employed in modern combat. Please take note that calibers used in this battle were a lot higher than ones we use in modern combat.
Legends involving the Moros are largely just that, legends. People miss shots thinking they hit, get scared, etc. Same way you hear complaints about .30 carbine failing to kill Chinese troops on Korea because of thick winter coats, but every test done on them shows the round trivially penetrating such clothing and people most likely simply didn't hit anything when they thought they had, or the dude they shot got carried off by his buddies and no body was left to find.

The Moros were ultimately violently crushed with relatively few casualties and no real strenuous war effort on the part of US and Phillipine forces. Most of their success came from catching their enemies unprepared and unready, in which case if someone doesn't have a ready weapon at hand you can get away with a lot more.


Also, caliber alone is a relatively irrelevant value on it's own. If I have to choose between getting shot by a .45 or a .223, imma take the bigger .45 bullet every time because its packing a fraction of the kinetic energy of the .223 projectile.

Again, there's a reason that French cran and elan, Japanese martial pride and the Bushido ethos, etc fell before the primacy of firepower when put to the test.



In addition, these troops would count as cheap cannon fodder in W40k and most factions would have far more deadly variants than these. They at their weakest are exactly like here, driven utterly mad by Chaos and charging you without any regard for their own lives. Men, women, old people, children. Hordes of such people will descend upon your soldiers, previous citizens of your planet merely herded before you and your firing line. More often than not, they are only here to distract their enemies until more valuable and experienced troops get into positions to kill their foes.
Herding large groups of unwilling or forced people like tha is actually a very complex task that takes a great deal of effort and organization and tends to rapidly break down even without getting shot at. Theres a reason nobody really tries it in real life.

Now tell me, how that is not effective in modern combat? Our soldiers have PTSD from gak they see in real combat, brutal stuff like that would seriously tax their sanity even if they manage to ultimately win.
so have people from every side of every conflict in human history.




Now, in W40k everyone uses level or armament at least one level higher than we use today.
Hrm, only in the most basic of senses. 40k is Fantasy in Space, not really proper scifi. Modern MBT's have capabilities that would shame the Tau and Eldar. Radar guided counterbattery artillery fire able to drop shells within a few meters of a target a dozen miles away basically doesnt exist in 40k. Air defense networks are almost entirely gun based, the kind of integrated multi threat air defense systems seen in places like Russia have no 40k counterparts.



We did not talked about charging Ogryn at all. What you gonna do when this brute will be charging at you and all you have is a lasgun? Soil yourself?
Do what poachers in Africa do when confronted with charging elephants/lions/giraffes/hippos/etc, dump the magazine of their 50+ year old Kalashnikov in a couple of seconds, load a new magazine, and do it again if necessary. Works fairly well.


Then there are even more ridiculous force multipliers like Chaos blessings. Nurgle is eager to bless his followers with unnatural resistance meaning that every single heretic simply doesn't die from things described in this thread. Punctured lungs, bleeding arteries?
These things absolutely kill Nurgle stuff, theyre not immortal, just resilient (sometimes, not everything is a plague marine). All sorts of fluff shows nurgle stuff being killed by small arms.




what you're far more likely to get are people who willingly walk into enemy fire to end their situation, or otherwise give up and hope said collars can be removed, or who turn on their masters when an opportunity presents itself.


Humans can be trained as animals and all hope and spirit can be crushed if you are competent slave master. There are countless gruesome examples from real world where people will not resist and will accept their fate even if accepting mean certain death while resisting means possible survival for some.

None on a battlefield in the manner you describe however, hersing them onto prepared enemy positions as meatshields.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/02/11 18:15:52


IRON WITHIN, IRON WITHOUT.

Heavy Gear Painting Log, Northern Guard, Southern Republican Army, and Terrain
The correct pronunciation is Imperial Guard and Stormtroopers, "Astra Militarum" and "Tempestus Scions" are something you'll find at Hogwarts.  
   
Made in us
Powerful Phoenix Lord






 flandarz wrote:
If we're including ready and immediate access to modern medical care then, sure, most singular gunshots are not lethal. But that's the same as saying "heart attacks aren't lethal as long as you get to the hospital in time". My view on lethality is whether or not something would kill you if you didn't or couldn't receive medical care in a timely manner.


So your definition of a gunshot being lethal is: do you sit and do nothing and bleed out...even from a non-lethal gunshot? Outside of the target zones (spine, lungs, heart, major artery) gunshot wounds are survivable in many cases, even with basic combat first-aid. You can triage and provide basic care allowing an individual to make it an hour or more without more competent medical care.

A basic gunshot wound to any extremity is not immediately lethal (major exception being the femoral artery, but even that can be staunched - though difficult). Rounds to the face/head are not immediately lethal. Numerous accounts of people having gunshot wounds chip their skull, go in one cheek and out the other (with teeth following shortly thereafter), etc.

Is your version of lethal "is this CAPABLE of killing someone?"? Well sure, a bb gun could kill someone if the wound got infected and the person did nothing about it...so I'm not following your argument. You should spend some time looking up the vast reports compiled by the FBI and some independent parties who actually study the physical effects of every recorded gunfight they can get their hands on. The science will surprise you.

There is a reason that law enforcement and military personnel are often trained to a minimum two-shot drill since the 1980's. In fact there has been a move away from two-shot drills (or "double taps" as they're more commonly called) because it became an ingrained detriment to special forces soldiers. Soldiers deployed in the field were so used to training double-taps they would shoot an enemy combatant twice and then move on their search or engagement....only to find the combatant was still alive and a threat.


 
   
Made in us
Battlewagon Driver with Charged Engine




Douglasville, GA

To turn the question back at you, is your argument that things are only lethal if they immediately kill someone? Cuz if you can receive immediate first aid/medical care, almost nothing is actually lethal. My stance is that if you cannot survive 30 minutes to an hour without at least first aid (which is pretty average for an active shooter situation), then it's a "lethal" wound.

Sure, there are cases of people surviving shots to the face or head. There's also cases of people falling hundreds of meters and surviving. Edge cases don't lower the lethality of something.

In 2013, there were approximately 73.5k gun related injuries in the U.S. (so not including any warzones). Of those 33.5k resulted in death, which results at around 46% lethality. So while, technically, you could say "most gunshots are not lethal", I'd argue a 46% chance that someone shooting you is going to kill you is a pretty high lethality.

Of course, a fair portion of those deaths and injuries were suicide related, which may have skewed the data, but it's probably not far off the mark.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/02/12 01:53:22


 
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Annandale, VA

 flandarz wrote:
In 2013, there were approximately 73.5k gun related injuries in the U.S. (so not including any warzones). Of those 33.5k resulted in death, which results at around 46% lethality.

 flandarz wrote:
Of course, a fair portion of those deaths and injuries were suicide related


~2/3 of all firearm deaths in the US are suicides, so yes, that skews the data. Many of those 'gun related injuries' are accidents, too, and not just people getting shot. Here's a paper on firearm lethality, concluding an average lethality of 31.7% for victims suffering gunshot wounds during the period of the study (1992-1995).

I'll admit I've kind of lost the plot here regarding this specific area of contention. There are few places in the human body where you can be shot and walk it off without long-term risk of death. There are many places in the human body where you can be shot and live long enough to seek medical attention. There are a few places in the human body that cause immediate incapacitation and/or death. In a normal battlefield situation, an injury of the second kind produces a casualty. Against hypothetical drugged-up human wave melee combatants, it might take a wound of the third kind to stop the attacker, but with a modern semi-automatic rifle that is not hard to achieve.
   
Made in us
Battlewagon Driver with Charged Engine




Douglasville, GA

The basic contention revolved around the lethality if "being shot". My stance being: if someone is looking to kill you (which, I guess, would include yourself), even a single shot is pretty damn lethal. To be fair, we're off on a tangent with this side conversation and it has little to do with the main debate.
   
Made in us
Second Story Man




Astonished of Heck

Casualties are more devastating than raw kills, though, so kill rate is a cow's opinion.

Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
Megavolt wrote:They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.
 
   
Made in lt
Regular Dakkanaut





I'm sorry, Ernestas, but that video is pop-history. The failure of low-powered .38-caliber revolvers to stop drugged-up Moros was a large part of the Army's move to a .45-caliber handgun. And even with inadequate equipment (note that the US Army didn't officially procure shotguns until WW1- the use of revolvers and commercially-bought shotguns in the Philippines was makeshift, not specialized), the US inflicted kill ratios in excess of 35:1. Not against 'children, women, men, old people', but physically-fit fighting-age combatants.


That is my point exactly. Video describes 0.38 caliber as somehow underpowered and justifies army switch to 0.45 caliber for increased stopping power. This 0.38 is a basic caliber of W40k and nowadays we went down to even more underpowered calibers, because of belief that it is enough to hit an enemy in order to take it out of action. While it holds true most of the time, because our enemies are not suicidal and delusional, there are many cases where such caliber just fails to do any damage upon impact and enemy trooper continues to fight ignoring injuries. If such calibers would had been employed in that jungle, it would had performed even worse against those charging lunatics.

Modern day most used caliber: .22
Caliber which historically proved to be underpowered to stop charging human being: 0.38
Historical solution: 0.45

You could argue that automatic fire had increased lethality of a rifle and you would be right. The issue is with ammo management, because you can ill afford time to reload your magazine during charge and automatic fire would result in more ammunition being spent on a single target than it is necessary.

Modern intermediate-caliber rifles are not weaker than Hague-compliant spitzer projectiles in full-sized rifle calibers. Those older rounds have higher kinetic energy, but regularly overpenetrate and waste it. .223 and 5.45 are designed to yaw on impact and cause high transfer of kinetic energy. This makes them more comparable in terminal effect to the rounded lead slugs used in prior eras- for reference, the English .577/.450 Martini rifle had no trouble against Zulus on a cocktail of intelezi, dagga, beer, and fly agaric.


I know that high caliber ammunition over-penetrates their target, but I'm not sure if modern ammunition is "designed" to do anything. It is just that lower caliber ammunition simply lacks kinetic energy to penetrate body and gets stuck. If anything, modern ammo is designed to penetrate more, because of its low caliber and low energy struggling to get through flak jackets which results in needle like ammo which just goes through tissue failing to do anything much. If you want a weapon which really inflicts damage on body look no further than AK-47 and similar weapons. As for stopping power in general, I'm not convinced. In hand gun market, nobody goes for low calibers, because there is a major concern that an assailant will not go down in one shot. There is huge preference for 0.45 caliber precisely because people are concerned that if they are attacked, merely shooting person will not do anything in time.

I have seen the terminal effects of .223 against the human body first-hand. Nobody, no matter how much khat they've been chewing or panzerschokolade they've been downing, will survive 'entire magazines' of fire. As soon as one round clips a lung, comes within an inch of the heart or spine, or hits the upper half of the skull, you are done.


We have historical precedent where people do survive an entire magazines if it is aimed poorly at them. Furthermore, it is not an issue with surviving, it is issue with spending that much ammo and time on one person. What you going to do when another one comes?

Oh, and they're not less accurate either. Not only has propellant and bullet design improved to the point where MOA groups are practical with service weapons (something that only the Finns did, prior to WW2), but modern optics provide an enormous force multiplier. The limitation on rifle accuracy has always been the shooter, not the weapon. You do run into extreme cases when Pashtun insurgents are chucking .303s at you from a kilometer away and .223 can't reach back, but that's neither effective fire nor particularly representative of modern combat.


You are right. I had thought that modern rifles can be accurate over 200 meters while in fact they are accurate to 550 meters.

Bear in mind that a .223 rifle is, effectively, a melee weapon. It can be used at any range, right up to physical contact with the enemy, and delivers far more kinetic energy on impact than any primitive weapon is capable of. If you really are liable to be fighting in point-blank close-quarters operations, you put a bayonet on it- not so much as a weapon as to prevent unwanted manipulation.


Not exactly. Bayonets are next to useless in real melee combat and they are used more for shock value, morale and to prevent weapon grabbing (though it doesn't do that at all). An actual melee weapon is just ridiculously better in melee combat than swinging your M16 with bayonet attached.

So your average modern soldier carries a weapon with higher rate of fire, greater lethal effect, and better accuracy than the long-arms used a century ago. And yet with those century-old weapons, in unfamiliar territory and adverse conditions, the US Army managed to inflict heavily disproportionate casualties on drugged-up melee combatants.


Like Tau you have silly faith in science and progress. Please report to your nearest commissar for these heretical beliefs.

When technology matures sufficiently, any further advances makes technology more efficient rather than revolutionizing it. For example, we had powder weapons in medieval age probably if you get fancy with imports. Yet, the core functionality did not changed over time. Getting hit by modern round is just as bad as getting hit by gun in medieval period. The only thing which had changed is how effective weapon is at its role. After sufficient advancement, around when first modern firearms were invented, we see very little advancement in effectiveness of a gun. It is more about making them more efficient. They jam less frequently, they are lighter, we invented better scopes, etc. M1 Grarand will kill you just as well as most modern firearm of today. Like you had said, it is not firearm which is important, but its user. So, it doesn't matter that modern technology had increased efficiency of those rifles. That is meaningless as most of those improvements are in areas such as accuracy, manufacturing, armor penetration. Useless things in situation we discuss here today. Nor those soldiers came under-equipped. They had specialized close quarters weapons like shotguns. These weapons back then were far more efficient in their role than any modern day rifle today in same situation.

Edit: Also, stopping power is a myth and pulse lasers don't burn holes, they cause miniature explosions through thermal shock. Cauterizing or not, their terminal effects are described as comparable to modern rifle rounds, at least in the novels I've read (Cain/Gaunt's Ghosts).


It is just extremely violent vaporization. It doesn't carry kinetic energy with itself and speed at which it causes damage to flesh is a problem in itself as body fails to register damage which it had suffered. Cauterizing helps body to survive for a little bit longer as there aren't any wounds which would actively threaten organism immedietly. This is why in lore lasguns are described as flashlights as they struggle to stop more determined foes like tyranids or orks. Thus, this is why IG relies so heavily on volley fire and heavy weapons to actually stop those charges.

In addition, laser weapons are silly. To evaporate anything takes extreme amounts of energy. What will happen when you are fighting in heavy mist or jungle? That foliage will essentially take all the bite out of your shot. Similar thing happens when enemy carries any sort of armor. Even humble flak jackets will prove an effective protection against laser weaponary. Lasgun is great equipping entire armies primary because it has huge ammo efficiency and theoretically infinite ammo without any logistical issues. At an army scale this is massive deal, even more on galactic level. It also benefits soldier as he doesn't need to worry about ressuply problems. Though, that is double edged sword as properly powerful lasguns require massive batteries. You might not be carrying ammunition anymore, but you are carrying massive battery pack on your back for your hellgun. If it is poorly designed, a single hit will basically take out all your ammo before fighting even begins.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/02/12 07:34:59


"If the path to salvation leads through the halls of purgatory, then so be it."

Death Guard = 728 (PL 41) and Space Marines = 831 (PL 50)
Slaanesh demons = 460
Khorne demons = 420
Nighthaunts = 840 points Stormcast Eternals = 880 points. 
   
Made in lt
Regular Dakkanaut





A chicken head and a human head are very different things, and a human head draws a whole lot more blood and the human brain is a far more complex and necessary object than a chicken's brain stem. If the right artery is hit, a person is going down very quickly indeed and absolutely is not going to charge 100 meters and successfully engage in combat. A brain doesnt need to realize its dead for it to be combat incapable.


You are missing an entire point. I do not know about chicken physiology, but human one is quite unique. Our muscles do not require brain or heart to function. We have quite ingenious biological means to produce energy at cell level without oxygen. It is called: oxygen debt and very same process can enable muscles to keep contracting under expected nerve impulses without adequate supply of oxygen (blown up arteries). Even if you cut head of an organism, said nerve impulses will just keep on going for excruciating several seconds. These seconds are why it is really hard to stop someone charging at you without kinetic energy. On large scale it means that soldiers will continue to focus and waste precious magazine ammo on foes which are already dead. This what "not realizing it is already dead" means. This phenomena is mentioned few times in W40k lore too.

Legends involving the Moros are largely just that, legends. People miss shots thinking they hit, get scared, etc. Same way you hear complaints about .30 carbine failing to kill Chinese troops on Korea because of thick winter coats, but every test done on them shows the round trivially penetrating such clothing and people most likely simply didn't hit anything when they thought they had, or the dude they shot got carried off by his buddies and no body was left to find.

The Moros were ultimately violently crushed with relatively few casualties and no real strenuous war effort on the part of US and Phillipine forces. Most of their success came from catching their enemies unprepared and unready, in which case if someone doesn't have a ready weapon at hand you can get away with a lot more.


Also, caliber alone is a relatively irrelevant value on it's own. If I have to choose between getting shot by a .45 or a .223, imma take the bigger .45 bullet every time because its packing a fraction of the kinetic energy of the .223 projectile.

Again, there's a reason that French cran and elan, Japanese martial pride and the Bushido ethos, etc fell before the primacy of firepower when put to the test.


These are not legends, but facts. It is proven beyond shadow of a doubt that human body can be remarkably resilient and people continue to fight even under multiple bullet wounds. Combine this with frenzone which pushes biological organism into absolute extreme of its capacity and you have soldiers who simply don't die or relent even after being blown up.

Duh, you assume that one force is irrational and wants to be defeated. This is how Tau thinks and how often mistake of modern day thinkers. You always assume that your enemy is irrational. That it wants to be defeated. That it will behave as you had imagined it in your head. This is why our military catastrophically fails each time when our enemies are determined. Even when military exercises and simulations are done properly we have these modern day scandals where our forces are getting demolished. Enemies adapt, they improvise. They do not come to be defeated. In a same manner, nobody is going to declare where they are going to charge you, give you time to prepare, set up artillery and air support. Charges are done either with overwhelming numbers or with some element of surprise and camouflage. My given scenario is quite typical. It is an environment where sneaking up is easy. It is not some unusual circumstance. In jungles or forests, being ambushed is just monday for you as we had seen in Vietnam. In a same manner, any modern day charges will not be performed on an empty field against armored columns. It will be "small scale" actions utilizing terrain and surprise to their advantage.

Bigger caliber has more stopping power, smaller calibers struggle to give up its kinetic energy efficiently. This is why all guns meant to stop opponent are of big caliber. Mass is king in this equation rather than velocity. Velocity is more important in penetrating rather than doing damage.

Herding large groups of unwilling or forced people like tha is actually a very complex task that takes a great deal of effort and organization and tends to rapidly break down even without getting shot at. Theres a reason nobody really tries it in real life.


You are wrong on this. It is very easy and there is so much historic precedence to this. Being herded in large groups to go somewhere is very easy. To force people to attack someone takes more effort, but it was done on large scale historically too through generations.

so have people from every side of every conflict in human history.


But we are not talking about humans here, do we. Anyone worth their salt will laugh at horrors of war, because they had endured horrors of the warp and managed to retain their relative sanity in a face of it. It is not Chaos worshippers who should be concerned with being broken down mentally, but their enemies. Traditional forces like IG are very susceptible to being driven mad or experiencing casualties due to mental breakdowns. If herding bunch of civilians causes our enemies to break, doesn't that mean that human wave charges are effective weapon of war?

Hrm, only in the most basic of senses. 40k is Fantasy in Space, not really proper scifi. Modern MBT's have capabilities that would shame the Tau and Eldar. Radar guided counterbattery artillery fire able to drop shells within a few meters of a target a dozen miles away basically doesnt exist in 40k. Air defense networks are almost entirely gun based, the kind of integrated multi threat air defense systems seen in places like Russia have no 40k counterparts.


That is largely a myth. W40k have all of these things. Though, I was talking about small arms and I'm not sure why you are expanding discussion in this off topic.

Do what poachers in Africa do when confronted with charging elephants/lions/giraffes/hippos/etc, dump the magazine of their 50+ year old Kalashnikov in a couple of seconds, load a new magazine, and do it again if necessary. Works fairly well.


Sigh, no no no and no. These people are called: "Big Game hunters" and they have specialized weapons to hunt these animals.

These things absolutely kill Nurgle stuff, theyre not immortal, just resilient (sometimes, not everything is a plague marine). All sorts of fluff shows nurgle stuff being killed by small arms.


You need to refresh your knowledge on lore and how Nurgle marines are portrayed there. You also need to read more about dispatching various others foes like zombies. Cultists on the other hand are just more resilient, but they also retain their human qualities like running, coordination, etc. So you now have someone who is very unlikely to be stopped just by few shots, because their flesh already is dying or half dead. How that is suddenly better and denies anything I had said?

None on a battlefield in the manner you describe however, hersing them onto prepared enemy positions as meatshields.


It was done historically already. Also humans are animals. Our survival instinct kicks in and you start doing stuff you never imagined you will be doing. Our minds and bodies prioritize survival over everything in the end despite our arrogance.

"If the path to salvation leads through the halls of purgatory, then so be it."

Death Guard = 728 (PL 41) and Space Marines = 831 (PL 50)
Slaanesh demons = 460
Khorne demons = 420
Nighthaunts = 840 points Stormcast Eternals = 880 points. 
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




This thread is still hilarious in how cherrypicked the "Melee" scenarios are. Any ork horde described by GW in their books would be turned into fine mist by Zhukov's 1st Belarussian, let alone anything more modern. People who focus on rifle calibers and pistols and whatnot miss the obvious- the men with the rifle are there to babysit the men with the MGs and mortars and make sure no one gets to the God of War in the back.

40k loves it's gorey description, but I don't think there is a single GW writer that grasps just how murderous modern weapons are.
   
Made in lt
Regular Dakkanaut





They do understand. Some makes even distinct references to manning heavy bolters and covering its reloads with flamers or otherwise they all are as good as dead. They also mention that amount of bodies killed actually are starting to act against rushing attackers. Yet, when you are dealing with mere animals like Orks or Tyranids, you are not dealing with mere humans anymore. Tyranids are numberless beasts who can throw hundreds of small hormogants to overwhelm IG squad and still call it a win. Orks on the other hand are unpredictable and have extremely tough bodies. You can consider lucky if mere burst from autogun is enough to kill an ork. When you remove human element, sure, you remove all these tactics and it is just mawing down charging bodies with small arms, machine guns, artillery and vehicles, but you also remove all the limitations on incoming enemies. You get then burrowing massive beasts who burst out of ground and start slaughtering your troops with hundreds of smaller beasts emerging out of a tunnel. You get 10 ton armored animals charging your vehicles and tearing them apart with claws. Your troops get instantly surrounded and cut off as modern army lacks numbers to possibly cover ALL the ground from an enemy which for all intents and purposes are numberless.

Btw: In lore Chaos DOES end up throwing millions of deranged lunatics in massed human charges. So even if we assume 1:34 kill ratio, it is 30 000 professional troops lost for 1 million of theirs. I also have to repeat that these millions of troops not only are transported, but Chaos often just convert anything they capture into such troops. Now imagine if you are fighting Chaos army. Chaos has enough strength to capture Berlin. It has population of 3,748. Lets say they manage to get 4 millions of civilians. Soon they will be driven mad and be charging at your soldiers. That is 120 000 soldiers lost on its own. In truth, Chaos does not merely rely on them to kill your troops. They will use them to clear barb wire, minefields, provide cover for actual troops behind them, expose your heavy weapons positions, artillery positions. This is when Chaos artillery will start counter barrage. This is how actual troops will prioritize destroying heavy weapons, vehicles while they are pre-occupied in clearing out charging hordes of madmen.

All of this ignores far worse fates that can befell them. If it is Nurgle, soon there will be 4 million zombies slowly shambling towards your direction. Have fun you smug prick who thinks that modern firepower is so overwhelming that he will never get into melee!

This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 2020/02/12 13:08:48


"If the path to salvation leads through the halls of purgatory, then so be it."

Death Guard = 728 (PL 41) and Space Marines = 831 (PL 50)
Slaanesh demons = 460
Khorne demons = 420
Nighthaunts = 840 points Stormcast Eternals = 880 points. 
   
Made in ie
Regular Dakkanaut





Read up on the Wexford Rising of 1798. You had poorly-armed but very numerous rebels vs British Napoleonic Age infantry.

The rebels had some notable successes, wiping out detachments of over a hundred soldiers in the open field. And they took several towns at the point of a pike but they eventually were defeated in three major battles - New Ross, Arklow and Vinegar Hill. All three showed the advantages of massed firepower over courageous and desperate melee combatants. One of the eyewitness accounts describes charging rebels being "tumbled in twenties."

And this was with musket and cannon.

If melee combat was at all effective, it would still be used.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/02/12 12:48:59


 
   
Made in az
Sword-Wielding Bloodletter of Khorne






The OP is not participating in a discussion, he is writing fan fiction.

Both are a valid use of time I suppose but it's worth being open about what the thread is.
   
Made in lt
Regular Dakkanaut





Then you should start reading my comments. I know that they are long and difficult to get into, but this is for what this thread is meant. I especially love when people prove me right with real world examples and then conclude that I'm wrong and melee combatants are outdated.

"If the path to salvation leads through the halls of purgatory, then so be it."

Death Guard = 728 (PL 41) and Space Marines = 831 (PL 50)
Slaanesh demons = 460
Khorne demons = 420
Nighthaunts = 840 points Stormcast Eternals = 880 points. 
   
Made in gb
Assassin with Black Lotus Poison





Bristol

 Ernestas wrote:
So even if we assume 1:34 kill ratio...


That was 1:34 over a century ago.

Our ability to kill with ranged weaponry has massively increased since then. As an example, on the first day of the battle of the Somme the British suffered ~57,000 casualties, of which ~19,000 were killed.

That was only 3 years after the end of the Moro rebellion. Since then we have developed machine guns with much higher rates of fire, more powerful explosive ordnance, nuclear weapons etc.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/02/12 13:45:34


The Laws of Thermodynamics:
1) You cannot win. 2) You cannot break even. 3) You cannot stop playing the game.

Colonel Flagg wrote:You think you're real smart. But you're not smart; you're dumb. Very dumb. But you've met your match in me.
 
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Annandale, VA

 Ernestas wrote:
That is my point exactly. Video describes 0.38 caliber as somehow underpowered and justifies army switch to 0.45 caliber for increased stopping power. This 0.38 is a basic caliber of W40k and nowadays we went down to even more underpowered calibers, because of belief that it is enough to hit an enemy in order to take it out of action. While it holds true most of the time, because our enemies are not suicidal and delusional, there are many cases where such caliber just fails to do any damage upon impact and enemy trooper continues to fight ignoring injuries. If such calibers would had been employed in that jungle, it would had performed even worse against those charging lunatics.

Modern day most used caliber: .22
Caliber which historically proved to be underpowered to stop charging human being: 0.38
Historical solution: 0.45


Okay, so I gather you are not particularly familiar with firearms. That's fine.

Raw caliber tells you very little- that's just the diameter of the projectile. It says nothing about the shape of the projectile, its mass or the energy behind it. Kinetic energy is a more useful measure

The .38-caliber revolver in question, which was somewhat ineffective against the Moros (as Vaktathi said, lots of it was hearsay from guys who missed their targets) was firing .38 Long Colt, which is a 125gr projectile traveling at 235m/s, for an energy of 224J.

.45ACP, the round that replaced it, is a 230gr projectile traveling at 255m/s, for an energy of 483J.

9x19 NATO- also .38-caliber- is a 124gr projectile traveling at 373m/s, for an energy of 560J. It's more powerful than .45ACP despite being a .38-caliber round.

And .223, the most common modern rifle caliber, is a 55gr projectile at 990m/s, for an energy of a whopping 1,715J.

The stopping power myth is the idea that raw caliber is the most important thing in terminal effect. It has been soundly debunked, over and over again, for the past fifty years, and the holdouts are people who simply refuse to accept the evidence.

 Ernestas wrote:
I know that high caliber ammunition over-penetrates their target, but I'm not sure if modern ammunition is "designed" to do anything. It is just that lower caliber ammunition simply lacks kinetic energy to penetrate body and gets stuck. If anything, modern ammo is designed to penetrate more, because of its low caliber and low energy struggling to get through flak jackets which results in needle like ammo which just goes through tissue failing to do anything much. If you want a weapon which really inflicts damage on body look no further than AK-47 and similar weapons.


This is so wrong I'm not quite sure where to begin.

1. Ammunition is designed. Full stop. .223 projectiles have a rear-balanced center of gravity, which induces yawing on impact at high velocity. This is in contrast to older ball ammo in full-size rifle calibers, where maximum range was the design goal because they shared ammunition compatibility with LMGs/MMGs.

2. The prevalence of body armor is why we have things like M855 'green tip', rounds which have a hardened steel penetrator to defeat body armor before the yawing behavior begins. Narrow bullets (low caliber) aid armor penetration. They are not 'low energy'.

3. 7.62x39 is an objectively less lethal cartridge than .223 as it does not exhibit this yawing behavior, and whoever told you that the AK-47 'really inflicts damage' should be ignored, because they probably get their gun knowledge from Hollywood. Beyond cartridge design, the actual loadings seen in the field are significantly less lethal due to the Soviet use of steel cores in their ammunition, which do not flatten on impact and routinely overpenetrate. Compare the 5.56 and 7.62 profiles here.

 Ernestas wrote:
As for stopping power in general, I'm not convinced. In hand gun market, nobody goes for low calibers, because there is a major concern that an assailant will not go down in one shot. There is huge preference for 0.45 caliber precisely because people are concerned that if they are attacked, merely shooting person will not do anything in time.


One of the most popular calibers for concealed carry handguns is .380, 9mm (also a .38-cal, but with more powder than .380) is the most common handgun cartridge in the world, and .45 is increasingly unpopular (often referred to as '.45 AARP' because the guys willingly carrying it are almost universally over 60 and have no idea what they're doing), so no. Where did you even get that?

 Ernestas wrote:
We have historical precedent where people do survive an entire magazines if it is aimed poorly at them. Furthermore, it is not an issue with surviving, it is issue with spending that much ammo and time on one person. What you going to do when another one comes?


Yeah, that's called 'missing the target'. And the answer to what you do when another comes is 'reload'.

If a small force of Americans could hold off a much greater force of Moros, in unfavorable terrain, armed with poor weapons for the task (ever try reloading a double-action revolver under stress?), what makes you think a modern force with modern weaponry would be less effective?

 Ernestas wrote:
Not exactly. Bayonets are next to useless in real melee combat


Because the rifle carrying it is more effective in every way, even in close combat.

 Ernestas wrote:
Nor those soldiers came under-equipped. They had specialized close quarters weapons like shotguns. These weapons back then were far more efficient in their role than any modern day rifle today in same situation.


They were carrying commercial-bought shotguns, weapons intended for hunting birds. Nobody on a modern battlefield who has the option takes a shotgun over a carbine- they exist purely as specialized breaching tools and for firing less-lethal ammunition. A modern day rifle is objectively better than a modern shotgun in close quarters, let alone a vintage side-by-side or M1897.

 Ernestas wrote:
In addition, laser weapons are silly. To evaporate anything takes extreme amounts of energy. What will happen when you are fighting in heavy mist or jungle? That foliage will essentially take all the bite out of your shot.


That is not how pulse lasers work. Please, just, go read a Wikipedia entry or something. They don't work by evaporation. They're not severely impacted by atmospheric conditions. You might as well be arguing that bullets don't work in the rain because the bullets will get knocked off course.

Look, I mean this in the nicest possible way: You do not really understand what you are talking about. Can I give you some reading suggestions on the evolution of military small arms design if this is something you're interested in?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/02/12 15:43:21


 
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




I'd like those reading suggestions if you don't mind.

tremere47-fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate, leads to triple riptide spam  
   
Made in az
Sword-Wielding Bloodletter of Khorne






 Ernestas wrote:
Then you should start reading my comments. I know that they are long and difficult to get into, but this is for what this thread is meant. I especially love when people prove me right with real world examples and then conclude that I'm wrong and melee combatants are outdated.


I have. That's why I made the comment I did.

You are writing fictional posts about a fictional subject.

There is nothing that can be offered as real-world examples that will prove or disprove your point.

I'm not entirely sure what your point is, to be honest, but I think it's that melee is more powerful than shooting in general (and that this can be applied to the fictional 40k universe).
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




This thread is hilarious. Thanks Catbarf for the informative and interesting look at modern firearms technology, which was good reading.

 Ernestas wrote:
Then you should start reading my comments. I know that they are long and difficult to get into, but this is for what this thread is meant. I especially love when people prove me right with real world examples and then conclude that I'm wrong and melee combatants are outdated.


The proof you're wrong is the complete absence of melee combat being a useful tactic against any modern military for well over a century.

In 40k you get to handwave away real-world concerns by just saying Orks are so tough they can walk with no legs or the Chaos gods themselves intervene to keep their cultists alive. In the real world it doesn't matter how determined or drugged up you are a bullet through the heart, or the brain, or the spine will stop you in your tracks, narcotics be damned. Similarly, a bullet in the kneecap will prevent forward motion and it's nothing to do with pain response or shock, it's entirely down to your limbs not working any more.
   
Made in us
Insect-Infested Nurgle Chaos Lord






Thing is, melee 'reasonably' will exist and be something a combat force in the setting would likely be equipped and trained to deal with. Why? Because Daemons, Orks, and Tyranids exist and each have respective reasons to be preferential to melee. Races that equip their troops with technological weaponry would reasonably include melee as part of a general equipment setup because combat against those foes is reasonably part of general warfare. That is before even getting into more theoretical aspects like the effectiveness of a chainsword against an Ork who may very well shrug off taking a half dozen bullets to the chest but is comparatively more vulnerable to being dismembered.

Consider; Games Workshop rules not so much games but as toolboxes for players to craft an experience from, and open/narrative/matched play just examples of how things can be put together. 
   
Made in az
Sword-Wielding Bloodletter of Khorne






Slipspace wrote:
This thread is hilarious. Thanks Catbarf for the informative and interesting look at modern firearms technology, which was good reading.

 Ernestas wrote:
Then you should start reading my comments. I know that they are long and difficult to get into, but this is for what this thread is meant. I especially love when people prove me right with real world examples and then conclude that I'm wrong and melee combatants are outdated.


The proof you're wrong is the complete absence of melee combat being a useful tactic against any modern military for well over a century.

In 40k you get to handwave away real-world concerns by just saying Orks are so tough they can walk with no legs or the Chaos gods themselves intervene to keep their cultists alive. In the real world it doesn't matter how determined or drugged up you are a bullet through the heart, or the brain, or the spine will stop you in your tracks, narcotics be damned. Similarly, a bullet in the kneecap will prevent forward motion and it's nothing to do with pain response or shock, it's entirely down to your limbs not working any more.


So is the thread about 40k? Or the real world?
Because I think most of us could agree that they are different and not that comparable.
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Except it makes zero sense to train against Ork or especially tyranids in melee. The Ork is roughly equivalent to Marine in terms of raw strenght. Tyranid melee organisms are usually equipped with long blades on arms and superior reflexes. A normal, unaugumented human will have little to no chance deflecting an ork strike, or hitting with enough force to damage the ork in melee. They also won't be able to match the speed of an organism that actually has no survival instinct.
Training to match their natural skills in melee would be a collosal waste of time, might as well train the soldiers to grow armor-piercing teeth to deal with tau tanks.

If you assume normal laws of physics apply, a lasblast will have more kinetic energy than a bayonet, and will have better chance of de-arming said Ork than stabbing with a tiny blade.
   
Made in fr
Trazyn's Museum Curator





on the forum. Obviously

If you don't have time to shoot, trying to stab an Ork in the eye might buy you enough time to shoot, or for your buddy to shoot.

Not that guardsmen are even that well equipped for melee anyway. They are more shooty than stabby.

What I have
~4100
~1660
: LM

Westwood lives in death!
Peace through power!

A longbeard when it comes to Necrons and WHFB. Grumble Grumble

 
   
Made in gb
Assassin with Black Lotus Poison





Bristol

Cronch wrote:

If you assume normal laws of physics apply, a lasblast will have more kinetic energy than a bayonet, and will have better chance of de-arming said Ork than stabbing with a tiny blade.


This. Time spent drilling your standard guardsmen in the operation of their lasgun and on the firing range is better spent than time trying to train them how to use a bayonet against an Ork.

After all, if these drug crazed soldiers/monstrous fungus people/intergalactic bugs can shrug off lasgun fire whilst charging at you over open ground, why on earth would a knife be any more effective?


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 CthuluIsSpy wrote:
If you don't have time to shoot, trying to stab an Ork in the eye might buy you enough time to shoot, or for your buddy to shoot.

Not that guardsmen are even that well equipped for melee anyway. They are more shooty than stabby.


Shooting is squeezing a trigger whilst your weapon is pointing at the target. Stabbing (considering these guardsmen are going to be using a rifle mounted bayonet or else they are dropping their primary weapon) is thrusting your weapon at the target.

Both require that the barrel of your gun is pointing at your target. Difference is you aren't trying to make physical contact if you're shooting them which means you are more free to move, less likely to have your attack deflected, can just flick your weapon to automatic or just keep squeezing the trigger.

You can make a lot more attacks by shooting in the amount of time it takes to try and stab them.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/02/12 15:02:53


The Laws of Thermodynamics:
1) You cannot win. 2) You cannot break even. 3) You cannot stop playing the game.

Colonel Flagg wrote:You think you're real smart. But you're not smart; you're dumb. Very dumb. But you've met your match in me.
 
   
Made in de
Hurr! Ogryn Bone 'Ead!





Regarding the whole caliber discussion just as an more anecdotal point: I served as a paramedic during my conscription time and back then the Bundeswehr was almost done changing to the G36 (5.56mm) but there where still the older G3 (7.62 mm) around. There where some concerns if the smaller caliber would "do it", but on the whole the advantages where seen as dominant: the G36 was lighter, had larger magazines and much less recoil. The latter usually led to the point that you could be quite precise with the G36 even after a short training period or if you are not the physically strongest. Also with the G3 there had been instances were inexperienced users broke their colarbone due to the riflestock hitting it to hard because they did not put it firmly to their shoulder. Especially the precision thing was important as it was believed (I do not have a study on that, that's what I have been told) that it was more likely that a conscript could hit a target with the smaller caliber than with the larger. And "more stopping power" that can not hit the target is quite useless. And it was said, that the 5.56 was still more than capable to penetrate a helmet on a direct hit.

Due to the lower weight it was also possible to easily carry more reserve ammunition and even we paramedics all got a G36, as did a lot of the other "non fighting" personell. So you simply got more dudes having assault rifles, being able to use them with acceptable precision after shorter training length.

The lasgun is in my opinion that taken to the max: relativly light, sturdy, easy to handle, no recoil, easy to aim (as the shot goes straight, uninfluenced by wind and gravity). It does not really matter if it has not the stopping power of a boltgun, you can put it in the hand of an untrained civilian and he will quite likely hit SOMETHING, which he would not with a boltgun. And a hit with "low impact" is still better than a miss with a "high impact" gun.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/02/12 15:02:16


~1600 build and painted 
   
Made in se
Regular Dakkanaut




I guess they get their melee training more for their normal assignments. They are propably more often deployed against other humans in which lots of the fighting is in huge cities with lots of close quarters and maybe against subhumans or weaker/primitive aliens than against Orks or Tyranids they have 0 chance against in melee anyway. If any of that general training gives them an extra 1% to take down an Ork with them in melee when they die its just a bonus and probably not something that shows up in the calculations for those higher up in command. Or it might do since even a rounding error could affect thousand or tens of thousands of soldiers lives at this scale.

Can also be a form of morale booster. If they think they have a chance that they dont actually have they might not flee as fast and hold the line better so someone else can shoot it dead. So even if they dont get to kill anything in melee them being trained and prepared for melee combat might still be worth it. At least they might fight slow down an ork 0,5s extra if they "grapple" instead of run.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/02/12 15:10:52


 
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Annandale, VA

pm713 wrote:I'd like those reading suggestions if you don't mind.


Ian Hogg's Military Small Arms of the 20th Century is a decent general overview, but is more focused on the histories of specific weapons than the field as a whole. If you can find them, the Smithsonian videotape interviews with Eugene Stoner and Mikhail Kalashnikov from 1988-1990 provide a great firsthand account of the development of intermediate-caliber small arms. A paper by Robert Hinrichs entitled 'Rifle Development, Standardization, and Procurement in the United States Military 1950-1967' is a solid overview of the transition from battle rifles to assault rifles.

I'll have to dig more because there are a lot of good but very specific books about particular subjects, weapons, or eras, but general overviews tend to fall into the pop-history category.

NinthMusketeer wrote:Thing is, melee 'reasonably' will exist and be something a combat force in the setting would likely be equipped and trained to deal with. Why? Because Daemons, Orks, and Tyranids exist and each have respective reasons to be preferential to melee.

CthuluIsSpy wrote:If you don't have time to shoot, trying to stab an Ork in the eye might buy you enough time to shoot, or for your buddy to shoot.


I think it is entirely plausible, in a setting full of melee combatants, to be prepared for that eventuality.

Here's the thing, though- if you have time to stab, you have time to shoot. A bayonet has to be aimed, so anytime the bayonet is on-target, the muzzle is as well. And it is much easier (and quicker) to pull a trigger from a convenient one to two meters away than to actually make contact against an enemy who is trying very hard to not get stabbed.

The bayonet's heyday as a weapon was when firearms had a low effective rate of fire, so you couldn't just shoot instead. And even then, when you look at the Thirty Years War, Napoleonic Wars, or American Civil War, a strong theme emerges: The bayonet was primarily a defense against cavalry, secondarily an implement to drive the charge home and break an enemy whose morale is wavering, and actual use as a weapon is somewhere below that.

Even in WW1, despite the bayonet featuring heavily in the public consciousness and artistic depictions, it was not actually frequently used- most trench raids involved short-ranged firefights more than hand-to-hand combat. Here's a quote from Pvt Frank Raine, 18 DLI (British Army), who fought at Marseilles and the Somme:

Well I never used a bayonet. I couldn’t face sticking a bayonet into anybody. I could’ve done it, but I didn’t do it. Safer shooting: I always used to say, if ever it comes to bayonet fighting, I’m having a bullet in the breach. And that’s what happened with me. Instead of going near enough to use your bayonet, you could kill him from two or three yards with a bullet – no personal contact. That appeared obvious.


By the end of WW1, Sturmtruppen outfitted for trench raiding weren't using bayonets; they carried stocked, drum-fed Luger pistols appropriated from the Artillery corps, the MP18 submachine gun, and grenades. Their American counterparts were gearing up with M1897 shotguns (initially equipped with a sword bayonet, but eventually dropped), Browning Automatic Rifles (no bayonet), and Thompson submachine guns (also no bayonet). With an automatic or semi-automatic firearm there just isn't a need for a knife to do damage when the weapon itself is far more capable, and that's even when the expectation was that these would be used in point-blank trench warfare.

If we were to fight 40K's melee-oriented aliens IRL, there is a snowball's chance in hell that we would start ditching rifles to take pistols and swords instead. We would focus on maintaining fire superiority whenever possible to deny their advantage in melee, and train in CQB so that troops know how to use their weapons in close quarters. Who'd favor getting within arm's reach of an Ork or Hormagaunt over shooting them from a safe(r) distance? Give me a carbine- with a bayonet only as a last resort.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/02/12 15:33:24


 
   
Made in gb
Boom! Leman Russ Commander





The Shire(s)

Tyel wrote:
You can then say "aha! they are immune to bullets" - but this just raises the question of "why wouldn't they be immune to swords?" If a 5.56mm bullet doesn't cut it, arm everyone with automatic elephant guns.


Precision. A melee combatant is much more likely to effectively hit weakpoints in the armour than a ranged attack, or to grapple and disable the enemy before targeting those weakpoints. Making the ranged weapons more powerful only works up to a point within the limitations of the technology of the time, before said weapons become impractical for a human to lug around as a personal weapon. If the armour protection can keep up and remain largely invulnerable to the ranged weaponry of common soldiery then melee remains viable.

Medieval men-at-arms generally required melee to shift because their armour and/or shields (depending on the time) provided great protection against the vast majority of ranged fire short of heavy weapons uncommn outside siege contexts. The same armour also made them very resistant to basically all melee weapons too, but melee combat allowed for hitting the joints and unarmoured areas much more reliably. This obviously didn't make ranged weaponry useless even against men-at-arms, but it left melee as the definitive option.

All it would really take to make melee a viable and frequent part of modern combat is a significant advancement in armour technology, although obviously heavy vehicle-mounted weapons are much mre prevalent and melee is unlikely to ever return to being the primary form of combat. You could argue this did happen with the invention of tanks- even in WWII, troops resorted to close-assault tactics to destroy tanks in the absence of heavy weapon support. This wasnt very effective, but trying to slap on explosives in melee had a better chance of destroying the tank than throwing them from a distance.


Edit to add: I think it is implausible that armour does catch up to firepower in a meaningful way, but in 40k, a premise of the setting is that it has.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/02/12 15:50:51


 ChargerIIC wrote:
If algae farm paste with a little bit of your grandfather in it isn't Grimdark I don't know what is.
 
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran




Annandale, VA

 Haighus wrote:
Medieval men-at-arms generally required melee to shift because their armour and/or shields (depending on the time) provided great protection against the vast majority of ranged fire short of heavy weapons uncommn outside siege contexts.


The key difference being that the typical ranged weapons of the early medieval period- slings, bows, and throwing spears- were effectively melee weapons themselves, relying on the musculature of the human body to supply kinetic energy.

Once windlass-operated crossbows came onto the scene, common armor (mail) stopped being a practical defense against ranged fire. By the time the unreliable handgonnes had started to mature into the more useful arquebus, body armor was starting to disappear from the battlefield- the heavier muskets carried by specialists in the 1500s-1600s were capable of defeating any armor that then existed. By the end of the 1600s, no amount of armor could protect against even common firearms, and the last vestiges (eg the cuirass worn by European heavy cavalry into the 1800s) were, ironically, for protection against bayonets rather than bullets.

You need an awful lot of contrivance to explain why a bullet can't pierce fictional body armor, but a blade with a tiny fraction of the kinetic energy can- and then following on that, more contrivance to explain why the logical solution is to give someone a sword, rather than a captive bolt pistol. Because even if the optimal weapon profile just so happens to be a blade, spear, or club for some reason, we have much better ways of delivering kinetic energy than relying on human musculature.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/02/12 16:01:33


 
   
Made in gb
Boom! Leman Russ Commander





The Shire(s)

 catbarf wrote:
pm713 wrote:I'd like those reading suggestions if you don't mind.


Ian Hogg's Military Small Arms of the 20th Century is a decent general overview, but is more focused on the histories of specific weapons than the field as a whole. If you can find them, the Smithsonian videotape interviews with Eugene Stoner and Mikhail Kalashnikov from 1988-1990 provide a great firsthand account of the development of intermediate-caliber small arms. A paper by Robert Hinrichs entitled 'Rifle Development, Standardization, and Procurement in the United States Military 1950-1967' is a solid overview of the transition from battle rifles to assault rifles.

I'll have to dig more because there are a lot of good but very specific books about particular subjects, weapons, or eras, but general overviews tend to fall into the pop-history category.

NinthMusketeer wrote:Thing is, melee 'reasonably' will exist and be something a combat force in the setting would likely be equipped and trained to deal with. Why? Because Daemons, Orks, and Tyranids exist and each have respective reasons to be preferential to melee.

CthuluIsSpy wrote:If you don't have time to shoot, trying to stab an Ork in the eye might buy you enough time to shoot, or for your buddy to shoot.


I think it is entirely plausible, in a setting full of melee combatants, to be prepared for that eventuality.

Here's the thing, though- if you have time to stab, you have time to shoot. A bayonet has to be aimed, so anytime the bayonet is on-target, the muzzle is as well. And it is much easier (and quicker) to pull a trigger from a convenient one to two meters away than to actually make contact against an enemy who is trying very hard to not get stabbed.

The bayonet's heyday as a weapon was when firearms had a low effective rate of fire, so you couldn't just shoot instead. And even then, when you look at the Thirty Years War, Napoleonic Wars, or American Civil War, a strong theme emerges: The bayonet was primarily a defense against cavalry, secondarily an implement to drive the charge home and break an enemy whose morale is wavering, and actual use as a weapon is somewhere below that.

Even in WW1, despite the bayonet featuring heavily in the public consciousness and artistic depictions, it was not actually frequently used- most trench raids involved short-ranged firefights more than hand-to-hand combat. Here's a quote from Pvt Frank Raine, 18 DLI (British Army), who fought at Marseilles and the Somme:

Well I never used a bayonet. I couldn’t face sticking a bayonet into anybody. I could’ve done it, but I didn’t do it. Safer shooting: I always used to say, if ever it comes to bayonet fighting, I’m having a bullet in the breach. And that’s what happened with me. Instead of going near enough to use your bayonet, you could kill him from two or three yards with a bullet – no personal contact. That appeared obvious.


By the end of WW1, Sturmtruppen outfitted for trench raiding weren't using bayonets; they carried stocked, drum-fed Luger pistols appropriated from the Artillery corps, the MP18 submachine gun, and grenades. Their American counterparts were gearing up with M1897 shotguns (initially equipped with a sword bayonet, but eventually dropped), Browning Automatic Rifles (no bayonet), and Thompson submachine guns (also no bayonet). With an automatic or semi-automatic firearm there just isn't a need for a knife to do damage when the weapon itself is far more capable, and that's even when the expectation was that these would be used in point-blank trench warfare.

If we were to fight 40K's melee-oriented aliens IRL, there is a snowball's chance in hell that we would start ditching rifles to take pistols and swords instead. We would focus on maintaining fire superiority whenever possible to deny their advantage in melee, and train in CQB so that troops know how to use their weapons in close quarters. Who'd favor getting within arm's reach of an Ork or Hormagaunt over shooting them from a safe(r) distance? Give me a carbine- with a bayonet only as a last resort.

To be fair, a melee weapon also has the advantage of being defensive- you can block enemy melee attacks. Of course, you can do this with a rifle without a bayonet, but having more reach is an advantage in melee. The examples of 40k bayonets we have are also quite clearly meant to be effective cutters (especially Cadian and Vostroyan bayonets) so potentially they would be able to make big, incapacitating cuts like lopping off an arm from an attacker. Of course, this still only makes sense in a context where your enemy is determined to push into melee and can reasonably shrug off your gunfire, to the extent they can reach melee relatively frequently. So basically against Orks, Daemons and Tyranids in particular. Against power armoured foes a very pointy bayonet optimised for thrusting would likely be the better bet, although frankly the only way I could see normal humans successfully taking down a power armoured Marine with bayonets is to somehow overwhelm them in a mass grapple and try and cut as many wire and cables as possible.

Melee weapons being both defensive and offensive in nature is something that makes them distinct from purely offensive firearms. A gun is only able to offend the enemy, it cannot protect you directly from an enemy blow (unless it is being used as a bad melee weapon).


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 catbarf wrote:
 Haighus wrote:
Medieval men-at-arms generally required melee to shift because their armour and/or shields (depending on the time) provided great protection against the vast majority of ranged fire short of heavy weapons uncommn outside siege contexts.


The key difference being that the typical ranged weapons of the early medieval period- slings, bows, and throwing spears- were effectively melee weapons themselves, relying on the musculature of the human body to supply kinetic energy.

Once windlass-operated crossbows came onto the scene, armor stopped being a practical defense against ranged fire. By the time the unreliable handgonnes had started to mature into the more useful arquebus, body armor was starting to disappear from the battlefield- the heavier muskets carried by specialists in the 1500s-1600s were capable of defeating any armor that then existed. By the end of the 1600s, armor was no longer protection against common firearms, and the last vestiges (eg the cuirass worn by European heavy cavalry into the 1800s) were, ironically, for protection against bayonets rather than bullets.

You need an awful lot of contrivance to explain why a bullet can't pierce fictional body armor, but a blade with a tiny fraction of the kinetic energy can- and then following on that, more contrivance to explain why the logical solution is to give someone a sword, rather than a captive bolt pistol. Because even if the optimal weapon profile just so happens to be a blade, spear, or club for some reason, we have much better ways of delivering kinetic energy than relying on human musculature.


Except this is not born out by the historical record. For a start, guns arrived in Europe before plate armour- plate armour has always been designed with firearms in mind as a potential threat. Windlass (and crannequin) crossbows were also outlasted by plate in widespread use, and the best plate armour was proof* against arquebus at even point-blank range. 16th century muskets (which were much larger than later muskets) were specifically developed as heavy anti-armour weapons, and these large early muskets never fully supplanted arquebus during the period high-quality plate was still widespread- they were mainly light support guns. In wars where plate was widespread, the proportion of muskets relative to arquebus did increase (such as in Flanders).

Despite all these powerful ranged weapons existing, armour use continued to increase through the 15th and first half of the 16th century, and melee remained as important as before. Windlass crossbows certainly were not able to supplant plate armour- knights even largely stopped carrying shields as pointless extra weight during the time heavy crossbows were around. If crossbows were making plate ineffective, knights would have continued using shields.

The French Cuirassiers of the Napleonic wars actually still wore breastplates proofed against musket shot, at close range. Admittedly, by this point weight considerations meant there was no limb armour, but there are accounts of cuirassier armour resisting fire from infantry they are engaging at close range at Waterloo. Obviously there is also the famous example of the Waterloo breastplate rent open by a field gun shot, but field artillery has always been a much bigger threat.

There are strong arguments to be made that socio-economic factors lead to the decline of plate armour during the 16th and 17th century, not purely military effectiveness factors. A significant part of why muskets got smaller again is because they didn't have to contend with effective heavy armour as much.


Melee combat against plate is not really about penetrating it though, it is about targeting weak points, usually by disabling the human wearing it. Grappling techniques were a huge part of medieval martial arts because they allowed a fighter to disable an armoured opponent, and then either make them yield or stick a dagger through a joint. A lot of weapons favoured by men-at-arms were favoured partially because they gave advantages in grapples, like the poleaxe. In other words, the advantage of melee against opponents too well armoured for your ranged firepower to reliably defeat is the precision of being able to target the weak points with a variety of methods. Ranged weapons could sometimes hit a joint or a vision slit, but not reliably.

However, people still need to be able to move and fight in armour, so it is very hard to remove these weakpoints entirely even with improving technology.



*For the most part- the lack of modern quality control meant that almost anything could occasionally get lucky and pierce a supposedly top-quality plate.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/02/12 16:22:41


 ChargerIIC wrote:
If algae farm paste with a little bit of your grandfather in it isn't Grimdark I don't know what is.
 
   
 
Forum Index » 40K General Discussion
Go to: