Death or Glory, Glory preferred – Military matters in LotN, part I: Weapons

The post-destruction period which lasted about 20 years after the nuclear war consisted mostly of bandits, militias, remnants of pre-destruction armies and such saw the last times that current weapons were really used in combat.

When ammunition and fuel ran out, those groups mostly collapsed since the only things their power was based on failed. About up to one hundred years after the nuclear exchange, you could still occasionally see someone use a modern rifle or pistol, but no military could anymore equip themselves with weapons like that. Instead, the disorganized groups of that era turned to the old standby weapons: the spear and the axe.

Around the time when Henrik I appeared on stage to create the nation of Peimar, black powder had made a comeback in a big way. However, since the gunsmiths of that age were essentially reinventing the weapons, most of them were fairly crude and their effect on the battlefield wasn’t immediately apparent.

In 2312, we’re now seeing black powder weapons that are reliable and relatively inexpensive. Most weapons are flintlocks, with the exception of some older weapons that are still in use as hunting and self-defense weapons. The percussion cap doesn’t exist, as far as anyone knows, even if there’s rumors about secret research done by the Kirkoslet gunsmiths.

Black powder weapons are of course slow to reload, even if paper cartridges are used, which means that melee weapons are carried by most soldiers, such as rapiers, different cavalry swords, axes and of course almost every musket is equipped with a bayonet. Armour is generally limited to breastplates worn by some heavy cavalry outfits.

The weapons themselves vary in make and model, considering modern industry doesn’t exist. The closest anything gets to standardization is the Kirkoslet manufactories that have a mostly standardized manufacturing process, along with the two standard calibers in use: 16 mm and 20 mm.The general types of weapons can still be identified.

The pistol is rarely used by infantry, but most cavalry outfits use pistols instead of muskets, a musket being difficult to load on horseback. In general, they have an effective range of about 20 meters, with seven meters being considered the practical range.  Pistols are commonly about 30 centimeters long, some models being somewhat shorter. All pistols are smoothbore weapons firing a round ball.

The musket is the most common weapon of the regular line infantry units. They are smoothbore weapons like pistols are, and have an effective range of about 50-75 meters. This had lead to the adoption of line tactics, since close-range volley fire is what has an effect, not long-range exchanges. Unlike historical muskets, most muskets in this era have actual sights, even if the inaccuracy of the weapon itself limits their use. Muskets are commonly around 130-150 centimeters long.

Rifled muskets or just “rifles” are blackpowder longarms with rifled barrels. Slower to reload than muskets, they’re not used by regular infantry. Instead they’re used by sharpshooters and different sorts of skirmishers, who don’t use line tactics. They have an effective range of up to 400 meters and are very accurate compared to other weapons. They’re somewhat common as hunting weapons. In general, rifles are around 120-140 centimeters long, a bit shorter than muskets.

It’s worth mentioning that there’s short versions of muskets and rifled muskets, commonly called carbines. They’re mostly used by cavalry since they’re easier to load on horseback than a full-length musket and have longer ranges than pistols.

Artillery comes in different shapes and sizes, and varies in make and type so much that it’s not worth going into any detail. Essentially, there are lighter pieces used for battlefield support and heavier guns used for attacking fortifications. Cannons used on ships tend to be between these two types. Cannon is used to fire cannonballs and at close range, cannons fire cannister shot (or grapeshot), which is essentially a mass of musket rounds, packed either into a sackcloth or a metal container.

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One Response to Death or Glory, Glory preferred – Military matters in LotN, part I: Weapons

  1. Pingback: Life in the 24th Century: Science and Technology | Lions of the North

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