×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Superguns Helped Defeat the Spanish Armada

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the nobody-expects-the-spanish-armada dept.

The Military 501

Hugh Pickens writes "With the discovery last year of the first wreck of an Elizabethan fighting ship off Alderney in the Channel Islands, thought to date from around 1592, marine archaeologists are revising their ideas on how the English defeated the Spanish Armada. Replicas of two cannon recovered from the Alderney wreck were recreated in a modern foundry, and tests carried out showed that the Elizabethans were throwing shot at almost the speed of sound. Elizabeth's 'supergun,' although relatively small, could hit a target a mile away. At a ship-to-ship fighting distance of about 100 yards, the ball would have sufficient punch to penetrate the oak planks of a galleon, travel across the deck, and emerge out the other side. Tests on cannon recovered from the Alderney wreck also suggest that the ship carried guns of uniform size, firing standard ammunition. 'Elizabeth's navy created the first ever set of uniform cannon, capable of firing the same size shot in a deadly barrage,' says marine archaeologist Mensun Bound from Oxford University, adding that that navy had worked out that a lot of small guns, all the same, all firing at once, were more effective than a few big guns. '[Elizabeth's] navy made a giant leap forward in the way men fought at sea, years ahead of England's enemies, and which was still being used to devastating effect by Nelson 200 years later.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

501 comments

First post? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980001)

Firste Poste

Expert naval tactics (5, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980007)

Speaking of a Brit I am always humbled at my nations level of mastery of naval tactics, from the early 'near supersonic' artillery mentioned in this article, to the modern... "Just ram the fuckers with a submarine" approach that we employ today... *wipes tear*

Re:Expert naval tactics (4, Funny)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980041)

I blame the French for driving on the wrong side.

Re:Expert naval tactics (1)

tg123 (1409503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980053)

I blame the French for driving on the wrong side.

Mod this up please the french do drive on the wrong side and are terrible drivers

http://www.expatica.com/fr/news/local_news/french-drivers-rude-mais-oui-says-survey-18360.html [expatica.com]

Re:Expert naval tactics (5, Funny)

adamchou (993073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980157)

How rude of the french to attempt to steal the title of worst drivers from my fellow chinese.

Re:Expert naval tactics (2, Informative)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980277)

You should go to Portugal or Italy.

Re:Expert naval tactics (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980291)

You should go to Egypt :)

Re:Expert naval tactics (4, Informative)

zbharucha (1331473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980299)

Ever seen the traffic in India, pal?

Re:Expert naval tactics (5, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980455)

I am currently living and working in India..... and I approve this message.

Re:Expert naval tactics (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980619)

I remember when I was still learning bicycle. My brother taught me to always look on both sides for incoming four-wheelers before a crossing.

Several days later I was cycling with one of his friends when, near a crossing, he comments, "You are still learning this thing, aren't you?"

On a serious note, traffic in Delhi, for most parts, is much better. I remember a guy who came to Varanasi some 15 years ago to visit his sister, and insisted to drive Maruti 800 [wikipedia.org] by himself. Poor guy ended up killing every one by drowning in Durga Kund [flickr.com]. His wife and his baby daughter survived because they were buying something in temple, and hence, were not in the car.

There is only one rule of traffic - there are no rules.

Re:Expert naval tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980395)

For worst drivers you should see Lima-Peru.
There the drivers have the best driving technics you can find. But the traffic rules are ignored most of the time. The public transport drivers are the worst.

Re:Expert naval tactics (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980623)

Naples - the Tangenziale even once had a 24 foot boat (no trailer) blocking traffic for a day.

Re:Expert naval tactics (4, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980445)

Apparently neither of you have been to Massachusetts ...

Re:Expert naval tactics (4, Funny)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980643)

Driving in MA would actually be nice if we could get rid of all the drivers east of Worcester, everyone from New York, and all the Vermontards.

Re:Expert naval tactics (0, Flamebait)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980603)

The Chinese aren't technically bad drivers. It's just that you can blindfold them with dental floss.

Re:Expert naval tactics (3, Insightful)

loutr (626763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980529)

I currently live in Paris, and quickly learnt to be very careful when crossing roads. I even got yelled at once or twice for not crossing fast enough. And parisian drivers just love their horns, they use it any chance they get.

Compare this to cities like Amsterdam where drivers actually slow down when they see you crossing, and I understand easily why foreigners have a bad opinion of french drivers :)

To be fair, it seems to be a parisian thing, as drivers in other French cities where I lived were nowhere near as aggressive as parisians.

Re:Expert naval tactics (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980103)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_on_the_left_or_right#Countries_with_left-hand_traffic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driving_on_the_left_or_right#Countries_with_right-hand_trafffic

If anyone was driving on the wrong side in international waters it would be the British sub.

Re:Expert naval tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980335)

Nope, take it from a belgian (second best drivers in the world after Finland :p ) : French drivers are the worst drivers on the planet !

Re:Expert naval tactics (1)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980689)

How exactly are the Belgians the second best drivers? About twice as many people die in traffic in Belgium compared to the Netherlands, which is similar in most aspects, except for the fact that we don't down a litre of beer during lunch.

I live in Liege two days a week and whenever I pass the border, I put on my crash helmet.

Re:Expert naval tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980393)

go to romania, bucharest and take a taxi :)

Actually, standard practice (0)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980161)

Read up Nelson's tactics at Trafalgar. Basically, just ram and then blow them to bits at literally a few feet of range.

Re:Actually, standard practice (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980283)

Nelson was nobody's fool, he used that tactic because it favoured his technology.

The brits had shorter guns that when fired would roll back into the ship ready to be reloaded. The spanish had guns that had to be loaded by climbing over the side of the ship. This new information that the british guns were powerfull enough make two holes with one shot makes the technological gap even wider and thus more effective.

Re:Actually, standard practice (3, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980295)

I never heard of ramming being used by Nelson. Also, given the layout of ships at the time it would have been all but impossible to ram and shoot an enemy vessel.

Re:Expert naval tactics (5, Insightful)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980163)

Add to this our current aircraft carriers with no aircraft for them, and our future aircraft carrier that can't take the aircraft being built for it, we rock at this Navy stuff!

Re:Expert naval tactics (2, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980447)

RAF Harriers are currently deployed to our carriers, as they have much lower hours on the airframes than the RN Sea Harriers. The carriers are still completely effective. Also I have no idea what you are talking about with regard to the new carriers, they are being designed for the VSTOL F-35 variant, with no current problems. The new carriers will be ready before the new aircraft.

Re:Expert naval tactics (3, Insightful)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980489)

>>RAF Harriers are currently deployed to our carriers,

And that must cheer the Royal Navy up no end!

>>The new carriers will be ready before the new aircraft.

Precisely, the Harriers will be retired before then!

Re:Expert naval tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980577)

Add to this our current aircraft carriers with no aircraft for them, and our future aircraft carrier that can't take the aircraft being built for it, we rock at this Navy stuff!

That's because, after perfecting your Naval tactics, you decided to perfect your bureaucracies.

Congratulations, you succeeded.

Re:Expert naval tactics (-1, Flamebait)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980169)

Err the article seems to forget the fact the Spanish Armada was decimated by severe weather first; the Brit Navy just destroyed what was left of it. It was hardly an accomplishment.

Re:Expert naval tactics (1, Informative)

Fusen (841730) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980325)

Yet you fail to mention the fact that the English Navy made them initially fled due to sending fire ships towards them when they were originally grouping and then chased them up the East coast. Also, 50~ out of 130 ships isn't "decimated".

Re:Expert naval tactics (4, Informative)

don depresor (1152631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980355)

You know that "decimated" means that a tenth was taken... so it was more than decimated...

Re:Expert naval tactics (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980457)

No, 'decimated' would mean one in ten, so 13 out of 130 ships. /pedantic mode off.

Re:Expert naval tactics (3, Informative)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980469)

That was one clever manoeuvre from the Navy, combined with better trained cannon staff, to the point the Armada had to turn around for repairs, resupply and rethink their strategy. This was their doom, for this is when the storms smashed most ships onto the island's coast (they turned south too early).

As it happened, it was still the weather which destroyed the Armada, and not the Navy (directly).

Re:Expert naval tactics (1)

Myrddin Wyllt (1188671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980693)

'Flamebait' is a bit harsh for this post - the official commemorative medals of the time even read Flavit Jehovah et Dissipati Sunt [wikipedia.org], so there was contemporary recognition that the 'Protestant Wind' was the major factor in the victory.

The cannon technology is still impressive for the time, though, and certainly would have contributed to the Royal Navy's domination in the following centuries.

Re:Expert naval tactics (1)

Kirth (183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980275)

That's what you get for Black Tot Day! You should never have stopped the grog. Inevitably this lead to the demise of the British Navy.

Re:Expert naval tactics (4, Funny)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980371)

Or IBM's new 'take a step to the right' body armor. Can you imagine putting that on sailors and watching them fall overboard when you shoot at them?

Re:Expert naval tactics (4, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980389)

to the modern... "Just ram the fuckers with a submarine" approach that we employ today... *wipes tear*

That approach was first invented by the US Navy, though. However, applying it to another submarine instead of some random fishing vessel is quite a refinement.

There were 3 cannons to replicate (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980045)

Two cannons were shown on the programme being lifted from the sea bed to join a 3rd that had been lifted earlier.

They wanted 3 cannons to make sure that a matching pair was not a fluke. A matching triple is much less likly. It was also interesting to to note that all the cannon balls lifted were of the same size.

Re:There were 3 cannons to replicate (4, Informative)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980085)

It was because the ship only carried one size of shot that he theorized the canon were identical in the first place. On any other wreck he would have expected to find lots of different sized shot.

The musket they found on the ship, when replicated, also punched through a sheet of steel the thickness of a contemporary breast plate, which a modern 9mm handgun couldn't get through (the round just mushroomed over and dented the plate).

The breastplate test (4, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980111)

The pistol they used in the test at the Royal Armoury was not particularly modern -- it was a GI-standard Colt 1911A1 firing milspec .45ACP ball ammo.

Re:The breastplate test (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980145)

Ahh; I was unfortunately in and out of the room trying to cook dinner when it was on - missed exactly which gun it was.

It isn't a gun, it's a pistol. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980227)

Those three other weapons being tested are the guns.

Re:The breastplate test (4, Informative)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980713)

For whatever is worth, the 1911 design is still very popular and has been copied by a gazillon gunmakers since its introduction; so is the .45ACP round, which is particularly popular in the US.

Re:There were 3 cannons to replicate (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980351)

That was a stupid test. Pistols have absolutely no power, muskets have long barrels, lots of power and very heavy shot. I'd have liked to have seen a comparison between the musket and a modern rifle.

Re:There were 3 cannons to replicate (2, Informative)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980627)

Mod the parent up, he's right. Pistols are sub-sonic, and fire bullets that are mostly made of lead. They have a ton of stopping power, but almost no penetration. Also, the bullets, even milspec, are rounded at the front. It's designed to mushroom like that.

Compare it against, say, a round fired from an M16 or its counterparts in other countries, where the round is jacketed, pointy, and supersonic.

Of course, it wouldn't have looked as impressive, seeing as the modern military rifle ammunition is designed to penetrate armour.

Re:There were 3 cannons to replicate (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980697)

Right on. And I bet that a full metal jacket 9mm or .45 bullet fired from a submachinegun or a carbine could penetrate just as well as the musket could. We could always throw armour-piercing ammo into the mix as well.

I don't see anything special (1, Redundant)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980051)

I don't see anything special about those guns. We Dutch had the same guns on our trade- and war ships in that time. They can shoot a cannonball to a distance of about a kilometer I'm told, so I'm not surprised that they can pulverize a wooden ship at 100 m distance.

Re:I don't see anything special (5, Informative)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980087)

Since you can't be arsed to read the article, let me quote the pertinent part for you.

Until now, it was thought Queen Elizabeth was using the same cannon technology as her father, Henry VIII. His flagship, the Mary Rose, was ultra-modern for its day.

However, it carried a bewildering variety of cannon - many designed for land warfare. They were all of different shapes and sizes, fired different shot at different rates with different killing power.

The point isn't the size or type of cannon. It's the notion of using a bunch of identical ones as opposed to a variety.

Re:I don't see anything special (1, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980135)

And that means the title of the abstract is all wrong. I admit I read the article after I posted but still I am right: the guns were not very special. It's the way they were used that was special.

Re:I don't see anything special (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980181)

The author of the article concludes it by saying English gun founders were 50 years ahead of their time, which would seem to indicate a gun capable of firing a mile was unheard of. From my brief perusal on Wikipedia guns mounted on galleons tended to have a range of 1/5-1/4 of a mile. For the person that posted above regarding a kilometer ranged Dutch gun, remember a mile would be an additional 60% or so.

Re:I don't see anything special (1)

PhilJC (928205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980707)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mons_Meg [wikipedia.org] has an interesting comment regarding Mons Meg, a French made, Scottish used cannon which was allegedly ship mounted at one point in its history.. (admittedly only if we ignore the smattering of "citation needed" throughout tho)...

It has been suggested[citation needed] that Meg was one of the armaments on James IV's carrack, the Great Michael, which would make it the ship with the largest calibre gun in history. From the 1540s Meg was retired from active service and was fired only on ceremonial occasions from Edinburgh Castle, from where shot could be found up to two miles distant.[citation needed]

Re:I don't see anything special (3, Funny)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980215)

the guns were not very special. It's the way they were used that was special.

That's what she said.

Re:I don't see anything special (1, Flamebait)

Mascot (120795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980301)

Remember what site you are on. You should know better than to trust the editors.

Re:I don't see anything special (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980345)

A mile is rather more than a kilometer - closer to two, in fact. Why don't you just admit you were wrong?

Re:I don't see anything special (2, Insightful)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980699)

Because this is the internet. People dont't ever admit they're wrong here.

Re:I don't see anything special (5, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980101)

The difference is that while EVERYONE had guns that could fire something inaccurately over a long distance these guns had a few rather special features.

Firstly they are all the same, no variability which means that the shot can be made more precisely and firing can be made more accurate

Secondly their recoil was able to throw the gun back into the ship consistently (read straight) due to the level of accuracy, this meant that the guns could be reloaded quicker

These combinations also meant that the guns could be used effectively in a broadside with standardised shot rather than having shot "tuned" to each individual gun.

So while the Dutch may have invented the stock exchange and orange carrots the guns used here by the Brits (strictly actually the English at this stage) were the first "modern" cannons if such a term can be used.

Re:I don't see anything special (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980569)

The guns may have been special, but it didn't mean Drake and co knew how to use them.

Despite better naval tactics as the Armada lumbered up the Channel, British cannon fire did not sink any ships in the early skirmishes - the Rosario and San Salvador were only captured due to accidents.

The Spanish ships where built to attack by closing on the enemy and boarding them. The Brits were wary of that and hung back, wasting shot and powder to no effect. It wasn't until the battle of Gravelines that they mustered the courage to get close enough for intensive cannon fire to sink a ship. And then, finally, they sunk a few.

Re:I don't see anything special (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980117)

I recall the Dutch did have one fo the largest fleets around the 17th centuary, large enough to contest the Spanish. However when the English (Supported by the French) started a naval war with he dutch, not only were they out numbered, but the majority of there ships substandard compared to the English fleet (though this may have been due to the general deterioration of the Dutch fleet for some years before), resulting in the English gaining a near sea based trade monopoly.

Re:I don't see anything special (4, Interesting)

san (6716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980191)

That only happened near the end of the 17th century - well after the start of the decline of the Dutch empire. Earlier that century, the Dutch did defeat the English at sea - three times.
So whatever advantage these guns gave, it wasn't very long-lasting.

The Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588, so maybe everybody else had caught up by the mid 17th century?

Re:I don't see anything special (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980415)

The twists and turns of history are facinating. Jared Diamond has pointed out that the Chinese had a large navy that managed to explore most of the Indian Ocean (well the edges anyway). They lost interest in seafaring just as the Europeans were starting to find their way around the cape. Random link [basicrps.com]

Re:I don't see anything special (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980209)

The dutch had a problem: they sea exits were very shallow, which put serious limit on the size of ships they could build and run domestically. They even invented cumbersome floating drydocks to help "fly" large east indiamen over reefs, but eventually trade and commerce went to the brits and the french, just like the german Hansa alliance lost most of their lucrative trade about 150 years beforehand.

Otherwise, english victory over the Spanish Amrmada was due to two factors mostly: wind conditions made it impossible to land the big spanish ships on british mainland and the english made iron cannonballs were of much higher quality owing to the slow cooling process applied after casting.

The spanish just threw their freshly minted cannonballs into a bucket of water, which made the metal brittle, so it shattered when hitting the outside of a sailing ship's thick timber, making little damage inside, if any. The english buried their hot cannonballs into charcoal, taking days to cool to ambient temperature, so the resultsing piece of iron was almost as soft as a piece of lead, staying in one piece while it went throught the timber of spanish ships, sometimes even coming out on the opposite side of the impact! (Whatever was in-between got almost totally destroyed).

On the other hand, one should not overestimate the role of artillery in late XVIth century sea combat. Accuracy was nil and reload times / repeat fire rates were nowhere near the Nelsonian standards. The Lepanto sea battle only a decade before, fought between venetians + spanish crusaders and the ottoman turks, was mostly sword and knife gore.

Let's say bad winds and substandard or outright bad seamanship was 75% of the 1588 spanish defeat, their commander actually never been to the sea before, he was simply a close relative of the king, that's why they appointed him to the post. (The russians made the very same mistake in 1905, earning the catastrophic Tsushima defeat.)

Re:I don't see anything special (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980667)

This is a long standing tradition in Russia, still honored in WWII and later conflicts.

Re:I don't see anything special (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980271)

Actually, dutch and french ships were highly valued by the british, since they were better at maneuvering than the english ships. A fairly large percentage of the legendary english ships are actually of dutch or french design :p

The real difference was: English crews/commanders. Many of them were, even during the late 16th and most of the 17th century, out at sea for very long durations, even years. And there was also the process of continuous drills.

Re:I don't see anything special (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980313)

I don't see anything special about those guns. We Dutch had the same guns on our trade- and war ships...

Yes, but they were rendered useless as all the money for the ammunition across the fleet had been spent on one marbled tulip bulb.

Re:I don't see anything special (4, Interesting)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980477)

"We Dutch had the same guns on our trade- and war ships in that time"

The Spanish were notably impressed by Dutch gun makers, and commissioned lots of cannon and ammo for their armada from them. Unfortunately, the fact that they were occupying Holland by force at the time meant that the Dutch hated them, so archaeologists have found Dutch cannonballs on Spanish wrecks that had been "accidentally" made just slightly too big or just a smidgeon too small for the intended cannon.

These differences in tolerances were small enough to ensure that they looked as if they were the right size to Spanish inspections. Attempting to fire them at the English however would have had tragi-comic results such as swearing gunners being unable to force some cannonballs into the muzzles of their guns, while others formed such a poor seal that most of the gases from the burning powder went round them, so the initial "bang" was followed by the sound of a ball rolling sluggishly along the muzzle, and then a "plop" as it fell into the sea.

The strangest part of all this is of course that archaeological evidence from non-Spanish wrecks indicates that the Dutch ammunition tolerance problem didn't occur in stuff they made for themselves or sold to countries who weren't occupying them at the time. Some historians believe that this notable discrepancy may well have been behind the famous rant from King Philip II, where he threw his throne at a courtier while screaming "I'll kill those fucking Dutch!"...

Re:I don't see anything special (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980641)

he threw his throne at a courtier while screaming "I'll kill those fucking Dutch!"

He's done it before, and he'll do it again?

Re:I don't see anything special (4, Interesting)

nojayuk (567177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980679)

Philips made radio tubes for the Wehrmacht, Kriegmarine and Luftwaffe during WWII while Holland was occupied by the Nazis. Remarkably the tubes suffered a high failure rate, but only after several hours of flawless operation, enough to get them past inspection and initial fitment but not much longer. Odd that.

Technology and the Art of War (5, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980057)

It's both fascinating and sad how technology and warfare has been intertwined from the very dawn of man. A lot of "geeks" from way back, Greek philosophers, Leonardo da Vinci, etc. were sponsored by the rich and powerful of their respectable eras in exchange for using their minds to create better warfare technology.

For good or for evil, it seems that's the way it has always been, and likely always will be. We possibly wouldn't be having this discussion if it weren't for DARPA...

Re:Technology and the Art of War (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980091)

We possibly wouldn't be having this discussion if it weren't for DARPA...

But we would have long found girlfriends, tried them out, chosen one, and got married.

Re:Technology and the Art of War (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980137)

But we would have long found girlfriends, tried them out, chosen one, and got married.

Dude, I don't know about you but Slashdot didn't stop me doing that... Then again judging from your UID you might be a little younger than I am? ;)

Females and the Art of Seducing (2, Funny)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980259)

Dude, I don't know about you but Slashdot didn't stop me doing that...

*blushing furiously at being caught typing nonsense in Slashdot*

Then again judging from your UID you might be a little younger than I am? ;)

Yeah. Any tips, dude? How do I charm and seduce the mysterious species known as "females"?

---
"Why do they have to travel in packs? And how are you supposed to get one alone long enough to ask them?"

Re:Females and the Art of Seducing (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980329)

Yeah. Any tips, dude? How do I charm and seduce the mysterious species known as "females"?

---
"Why do they have to travel in packs? And how are you supposed to get one alone long enough to ask them?"

OK, totally off topic by now... ;)

I find that spending enough time with girls/women helps develop a sense of what works and what doesn't. Use the economies of scale to your advantage, ask enough of them out and sooner or later one will agree to go on a date.

Beware of the "friend zone", spending so much casual time with a girl that she regards you as a friend usually eliminates the dating possibilities. But strive to have female friends too, and talk to stuff about them.

The sexes are different, that's just something to accept. You can't necessarily ever understand women very well, hell I can't often comprehend my wife even after almost ten years by now... ;)

Also use the net, go on plenty of blind dates with people. Don't make the mistake to mail/chat back and forth forever, just go for coffee and see if it works or not.

Actually... (5, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980249)

Actually, the funny thing is: only because our history textbooks are still fascinated with conquerors, ignore civillian progress almost entirely, and kings which built up the economy instead of going to war are presented as weak kings. So yeah, you only get to hear about the stuff used in war.

But if you look as far back as the dawn of civilization, the advances which made those armies and empires possible in the first place were almost invariably civillian technology. E.g., you wouldn't have had those empires rising and falling in Mesopotamia without irrigation and timekeeping and a bunch of other things. I'm hard pressed to see how irrigation might have been developed for warfare.

Or if you look at ancient Egypt, their greatest advances were made before the Hyskos invasion, while Egypt was still shielded by the desert from any noteworthy warfare. Their only concerns were minor border fights against raiders and nubian tribes, and they didn't waste much of their GDP on the army or even on fortifying their cities. In fact, none of their cities had a wall at all. And yet in this age they developed construction, medicine, etc, to an extent far beyond their warring neighbours.

Romans, if you look at them, were actually a remarkably peaceful civilization. With some few exceptions, like the last war against Carthage, Rome almost never started a war of aggression. They just defended what was theirs and honoured their alliances to the letter. But when attacked, they hit back _hard_. Among other things because they hadn't ruined their economy and manpower with pointless wars before that. The vast majority of their conquests were actually done in counter-attacks.

But anyway, while everyone drools about the Roman legions, few people give thought to the economy that could afford them in the first place. There were advances in engineering, administration, construction, etc. There was stuff like the aqueducts that allowed Rome to have that monstruous manpower to throw at an enemy. Most of that stuff was civillian tech. Nobody built an aqueduct as an offensive thing.

Re:Actually... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980373)

I'm hard pressed to see how irrigation might have been developed for warfare.

Indirectly, it causes your population to rise. Bigger population = overcrowding. Conveniently it means a bigger army to go over and finally sort out those assholes in the next valley who worship the wrong god.

They just defended what was theirs

Interesting, I never new Rome sprung into existence owning everything from the Tyne to the Danube. Did Romulus & Remus inherit it from a rich uncle?

Learn to read (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980557)

Interesting, I never new Rome sprung into existence owning everything from the Tyne to the Danube. Did Romulus & Remus inherit it from a rich uncle?
Reply to This

Interesting. If you had actually bothered to read to the end of the paragraph, you'd see I did address that issue: they conquered almost all that territory in counter-attacks, after being the ones attacked. Or were you that much in a hurry to jump to a snarky uninformed wisecrack? Learn to read, lemming.

Indirectly, it causes your population to rise. Bigger population = overcrowding. Conveniently it means a bigger army to go over and finally sort out those assholes in the next valley who worship the wrong god.

And "indirectly" is the whole point. It's stuff that didn't result by being paid for by a warlord, but civillian tech which then incidentally also benefitted an overlord. I.e., far from being a case where everything was invented because of wars and army, it's mostly the other way around.

Re:Actually... (4, Insightful)

Kirth (183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980411)

I don't concur with Rome being peaceful. They were pretty belligerent. If you wanted to be someone politically, you had to server in the army first. If you wanted to raise really high, you had to conquer someone.

And no, crying "the Gaul have weapons of mass destruction" and calling the war of aggression a "retaliation" didn't count then anymore than it does now. Of course, now and then, it gets your population behind your war. For the rest, there is fast food and TV,

The gaul wars were a mixed bag (5, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980607)

The gaul wars were a mixed bag and Caesar was going to be investigated by the Senate for it, when he decided to attack Rome instead.

But even there, it all started when the Helvetii attacked some gallic tribes which were allies and clients of Rome. The next two major interventions there followed the same pattern: someone attacks the allies of Rome, Rome smacks back hard.

It has nothing to do with crying "the Gaul have weapons of mass destruction", and everything to do with your allies being actually attacked first. Big difference.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980417)

while you are correct to some degree that military superiority is to a degree a reflection of the civilization that produces it, you must also admit that there is a flow in the other direction.

Firstly, state security can let people feel safer and more likely to avoid catastrophic loss of farms from enemy armies plundering their economy.

Secondly, stability is often necessary for technical advancements, and stability is often an outcome of a balance of power which comes as a result of having military balance.

Thirdly, the military advancements do flow to the rest of the economy (GPS, internet, for eg) and were created without a civilian purpose in mind to begin with.

So while I agree that military can seem to be a bit of a leech on society at times, there is a two way flow between this very necessary institution.

Re:Actually... (1)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980499)

Maybe they developed irrigation in an early scientific effort to grow soldiers.

In fact, this will no be so different from some efforts done today by DARPA and others.

Offensive Aqueduct? (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980593)

I bet an offensive aqueduct is like a silo virus in Command and Conquer. It works when you use it in Rome: Teh Vijeo Gam but it's really complete nonsense.

Re:Actually... (2, Informative)

qc_dk (734452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980609)

If you get a chance go see the roman ruins underneath placa del rei in Barcelona. you get a good feeling of how well developed the infrastructure in a roman town was. The ruins are from a smallish roman town, but it has a dyeing shop, a garum(fermented fish sauce) factory, and a wine factory spanning three separate buildings. One for pressing, one for fermentation, and one for storage/spicing, as far as I remember. They were connected underground via clay pipes for the wine. Combined with the aqueducts, closed sewers and public baths would give a society with less disease and more people free to take up other roles than mere subsistence farming/food gathering.

Not only did the romans have the economy to support a huge army. Life also looked a lot sweeter as a roman, in my opinion. It reminds me of the scene from life of brian:

"But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education,wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

Re:Actually... (1)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980615)

You're a civil engineer, aren't you?

But yes, you're right. All we ever hear about (at least in the USA) is the conquerors.

Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980065)

I thought it was top guns.
Tom Cruise ?

A topical haiku (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980079)

Elizabeth big balls
Olden ships
Farting cannons gracefully

Benefits of Standardization (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980121)

Here we have a perfect example how open standards help everyone. Although it is quite unfortunate that this situation was a war, and diplomacy was not given enough time to work, the benefits of open standards have to be obvious. What if one cannon was made by Microsoft and one by Apple...they couldn't use each other's ammunition, and the English would have lost. Of course, the whole situation could have been avoided by dialogue and communication, listening to the voices of the people, and building peace instead of building guns.

Re:Benefits of Standardization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980167)

Now I didn't RTFA, but how exactly did this help the Spanish?

Re:Benefits of Standardization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980237)

how exactly did this help the Spanish?

Think of the Spanish as the Microsoft of the day, and the English Navy as being the "free as in beer" crowd.

The English made an open standard that allowed them to rule the seas while the backwater Spanish had a complex mesh of non-interchangable and completely rigid inferior tools (forged under the will of God) that actually hindered progress.

Re:Benefits of Standardization (4, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980309)

No, it's an example of the power of consistency, which is best obtained by sourcing from a single supplier. I highly doubt these warships had cannons from a variety of manufacturers made to detailed open specifications. More likely, navy smiths made all the cannons themselves, with the same tools and same people each time. In a modern context, it'd mean the navy standardising on one technology from one supplier - ie, Microsoft. Nice try though.

They didn't help the English Armada though. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26980165)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Armada

What amuses me is the selective memory Brits have on their naval affairs...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cartagena_de_Indias

That's what I'd call a defeat.

Not so new Theory (1)

phriedrich (658327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980261)

I believe the theory about the advanced and standardised britisch canons is not so new. At least I read a (not so good written) historical novel named "Der Meister des Siebten Siegels" ("The Master of the seventh Seal") about a fictiv (?) Adam Dreyling, developed a new technology to cast canons in higher quality, escaped to england and armed the english fleet. At least now it seems to be proven.

Severe storms (1)

nofactor (1053982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980359)

Good article, I'm fond of naval battles and sailing warships. No doubt superguns helped Britons, but severe storms disrupted the Armada.

Not surprising... (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980377)

The British had for almost a 500 years a fairly simple approach to warfare. It's called "shoot the enemy a lot". I'd bet that it comes from their own ancient fascination with the long bow, where, really, you had to just put as many arrows in the air as possible to win and they did win that way at Agincourt.

From that they always worked on the rate and power of their fire, whereas other nations had a more mixed set of priorities. It wasn't just about getting more hits - they also recognized the intimidating effect having a lot of stuff coming your way meant.

But even after their machine gun, you saw British military theorists like Lidell Hart advocating for what the Germans would adapt into their own blitzkreig, and the USA into its Shock and Awe. And, even their commandos and SAS, upon which all the special forces of the world are based, are also really about, "shoot the enemy a lot"...

Bottom line is, if you mess with the British, they are going to shoot you a lot. So its really easier just have them as an ally and keep them working on their bad food and good music and television.

Re:Not surprising... (4, Funny)

VShael (62735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980685)

Bottom line is, if you mess with the British, they are going to shoot you a lot.

Speaking as an Irish man, you don't even have to mess with them. Just being in their general vicinity can be enough.

Replicas (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980501)

"Replicas of two cannon recovered from the Alderney wreck were recreated in a modern foundry,"

So they made a working replica of a replica? I think "recreated" should just be "created".

standard metric system of measurments (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26980723)

If only the US leaders and population could listen to the lessons of history and could move at long last from the archaic imperial measurement system to the scientific metric system. As bible teaches us building a technology house on the quick sand foundation of the medieval imperial measurement system is not right. There should be the unified standard scientific metric system of measurements.

Otherwise we will have what we have now, dropping from the sky aircraft, hanging PCs, global economical crisis. When the foundation is not right, nothing is right. What Barak is waiting for?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...