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Perfection: Thy name is Katana! ...Really?



  • ryuken87ryuken87 Member Posts: 563
    Without having ever wielded a katana or long sword, I will say this: Offensive weapons and defensive armour will have been developed together, each driving the evolution of the other, such that in an isolated culture there will be some degree of balance. To say a katana is 'junk' compared to plate mail is similar to saying plate mail is junk compared to an ICBM. Just because a katana wasn't designed to fight plate (and is therefore no good against it) that doesn't make it junk - it was likely very good at the job it was designed to do.

    If you want to talk in hypotheticals such as who would win between a samurai and a knight then you might like this light hearted show.

  • gesellegeselle Member Posts: 325
    @moopy stop it, you are making false claims all over. I assumed, people here would have some basic understanding of medieval weapons, so i tried to keep it short, but look, I'm wrong.

    Radham claimed that I'm mistaken, since i claim a katana can't cut thrugh plate armor (steel). And you objected by quoting me, as i stated a katana is useless against heavy armor. But IT IS. Now shut it.

    I was talking about heavy armor, swords like scimitars, katanas excel at slashing/cutting through light armor, like fur, leather and clothing. If you have steel bands on your leather armor, to me it is heavy armor, as you don't run around naked, only with a chainmail, but you wear cured leather beneath it.

    Use a mace, if you will, I'd take the sword any day, since not all soldiers wear chainmal and full plate, and even if they did you can still knock them unconscious.

    It makes the short sword better in this particular point: Easy to create, cheap, and you don't need much space., to use it effectively.

    I state that the katana is neither a weapon of high quality (speaking of medieval times in japan), nor a weapon fit for large scale battles. It's status is purely traditional. And that is a fact.

    In terms of D&D: The item description shows, why the katana deals 1d10 points of damage, and I'm fine with it.

  • SirK8SirK8 Member Posts: 527
    You mean, you guys really don't know about this show?

    As for myself, I have no opinion on this matter.

  • moopymoopy Member Posts: 938
    edited February 2013

    I realize this is just going to be a never ending flame war so I'm ducking out.

    Post edited by moopy on
  • gesellegeselle Member Posts: 325
    Geez... here it comes:
    on the false claims:
    moopy said:

    ...Because he obviously doesn't know, as you so correctly said, that a katana is used to attack the weak points in armor.

    I have no doubt the roman legion would destroy an army of samurai. I also have no doubt that in a duel a samurai would destroy roman legionnaire, which kind of negates the equipment concept.

    Also, "a katana was made to fight people in rags"... I reread that and I now regret taking the time to respond, this is either trolling or ignorance. Maybe both.

    Claim 1: Katana used to attack weak points in armor: No it was not, it was the only way to deal with an armored adversary, neither was the tip designed to thrust, but to slash.
    Claim 2: A samurai would defeat a roman legionnaire in a duel. Why? As far as I know Roman legionnaires were veterans of countless battles, with excellent discipline and a shield. I would call it even.
    Claim 3: I'm trolling or ignorant. I dare you prove me wrong, I haven't seen anything from you. Nothing but trashtalking, and nitpicking. No logic, no video footage, no scientific papers NOTHING. Pulling the strawman argument yourself. If you reread your posts you should realize it yourself.

    As for your opinion that the katana cannot cut through steel, you are obviously mistaken: Katana can cut through kabuto (japanese iron helmet), so that means that it can cut also through several parts (not the stronger perhaps) of any armour.

    Here it is. He says I'm mistaken. The katana can cut through several parts of ANY armor. Cuts several parts. There are not several parts you can overcome. And weak points are always reinforced with chainmail, but against the katana it is unneeded. You won't be able to pierce through the armpits.

    Interchanging has one single purpose. Emphasizing, that a katana is not a good weapon/sword whatever. If you haven't realized it by now, you are not trying. Ever asked yourself why the metal was folded, to create the katana? The intention was not to remove weaknesses, but to remove impurities. Do you know what happens if you have a sword made of impure steel? Play Baldur's Gate and see it for yourself.... it shatters!
    Actually if you fold steel you are distributing material weaknesses across the whole sword, and thats why this technique was not popular in europe. To the contrary, excessive folding causes a loss of iron, as it "burns" away, as well as material weakening. So steel folding should be avoided, unless the iron quality is low, and guess where it was used? WUHU japan!
    source 7 is especially noteworthy as they describe where they find their highest quality iron ore and how they produce iron with modern knowledge. All iron ore has a miserable amount of iron, so it needs to be enriched, and even after enriching the iron is very inhomogeneous.

    About katanas

    stabbing with various swords against riveted mail armor, a katana would most likely have the same effect.

    Nice read

    Switching from fact to logic is always justified, once facts cannot be provided or provided in time. And everything I said can be wrong, but you need prove me wrong.

    Moopy you are pulling the straw man yourself.

  • moopymoopy Member Posts: 938
    I like how I edited my last post to not get into this conversation with you at 11:59 AM, and yet at 2:06 PM you still need to fill the need to continue.

    Let me quote myself.
    moopy said:

    I realize this is just going to be a never ending flame war so I'm ducking out.

    Also, I apologize if I misrepresented your position to make it appear that you were taking a stance that you weren't, because that is what a straw man argument would be, but I don't think I did that.

    I did think you were doing that to Radhamanthys, but now I think you just misunderstood him and got caught up in poor wording over context. It seemed pretty clear to me when he said "any" he meant "most" given his example was an iron helmet. I don't think he meant full on high quality steel plate mail.

    That is, I don't think he meant katanas are super sharp blades of death that can cut through any metal known to man and no other sword can, as much as they aren't completely useless against all metal armor.

    Which would be why I thought you were making a straw man out of Radhamanthys' position. It seemed you were saying he was saying the first thing, when it seemed quite clear to me that he meant the second.

    I'm not Radhamanthys though, so maybe I misunderstood and he did mean katanas are super sharp and can cut through any metal known to man.

  • RadhamanthysRadhamanthys Member Posts: 106
    As Moopy said, I said that a katana can cut through kabuto (japanese helmet) and therefore we can assume that it can cut also through other parts of an armour (japanese or european). I never said it can cut in two a person wearing a full plate armour or that it can the strongest parts of the armour, but no other weapon can do that.

    Just a reminder: I never said in this thread or anywhere else that katana is better than the longsword. Both are very good weapons, but you cannot easily compare them so that you can say which is best.

    Since this conversation is not really working (geselle is not willing to change his mind), I will let him continue stating that the katana is a junk just because it can not cut in two a knight in full plate (I was wondering is there any uberweapon that can cut a knight in two?).

  • moody_magemoody_mage Member Posts: 2,054
    Most of the glamour of Katanas revolves around the pattern-welding (folding of metals) involved in the creation and the belief that this makes it amazing strong and sharp. The reality if this is that such a technique was developed to counteract the low amount of high quality steel available in Japan. Both the Celts and Vikings also employed the pattern-welding method and with far more reliable high quality steel available to hand made very high quality swords comparable to Katanas.

    Here's an interesting document;

  • gesellegeselle Member Posts: 325
    edited February 2013
    @Radhamanthys I call it junk for various reasons. Difficult and time consuming to craft, not as versatile as a sword, since you dont cause as much blunt trauma. General lack or minor cross guard, as well as no hilt pommel, or Ricasso. And the technique to reach maximum slashing power is terrible for combat. You said it could cut any armor, and that is bullshit, honestly I don't even think you can cut proper leather protection with a katana. It was a weapon to slaughter poor folks, and not for "advanced" (fighting vs. chainmail, shield, or large amounts of sword wielding soldiers) warfare. If Samurai were involved in any military conflict in europe during medieval times, they would have scrapped that design in a heartbeat.
    Well it's not junk per sé, but compared to european swords, it's antiquated.

    Edit: Found some internet sites that claim, that katanas my shatter upon impact on plate armor/another sword. Though no sources are provided... (may only break through cracks propagating from hard blade towards "mantle", as the mantle was highly bendable, better bend than break)

    Post edited by geselle on
  • RadhamanthysRadhamanthys Member Posts: 106
    @geselle As my last comment in this thread, I suggest you read the article what YOU suggested on 1/2/2013:

    In this article, John Clements of ARMA (a leading authority on historical fencing and the world’s foremost instructor of Medieval and Renaissance fighting methods), clearly disagrees with your opinion that katana is junk. In this article he states:
    - But a fine katana can be a truly awesome sword. I have long been an admirer of its form and function.
    - As a sword, the Japanese katana is unmatched in its sharpness and cutting power. Furthermore, it is particularly good at cutting against metal.
    - Over all the katana was a very well-rounded design: excellent at cutting and slicing, yet good at thrusting, and suitable for armored or unarmored fighting on foot or horseback, either one or two-handed. It was a carefully crafted and beautiful weapon reflecting generations of artistry and fearsome necessity.

  • gesellegeselle Member Posts: 325
    @Radhamanthys I know what I've been reading, but I never said, that everything in this article is true or makes sense. The term unmatched in sharpness, is total and utter bullshit. Every sword can be just as sharp, even an axe. The cutting power comes from its curved shape, as the force is focused on a very small area, sharpness is less significant. You can easily check that fact at home. And him stating, that it is particularly good at cutting metal, is total bullshit.

    Just to give you some numbers: You need somewhere between 200 and 400 kg/mm^2 pressure to cut/dent plate armor with a thickness mostly between 1 and 1.5 mm (Edge and Williams, 2001: A STUDY OF THE GERMAN ‘GOTHIC’ 15TH-CENTURY EQUESTRIAN ARMOUR (A21) IN THE WALLACE COLLECTION, LONDON). (plate is cut by diamond; diamond is the hardest material known by man). This is scientific, this is regarded superior to everything you might find on the internet, including homemade videos, the articles of fencing authorities, or arma in general.

    Now if you would change the diamond and use a katana, which has a bigger impact surface, because steel is ductile, you should realize how ridiculous these claims are. And with each cut against plate the cutting power of a katana is diminished, this is a fact.
    If this doesn't convince you that a katana can't cut steel armor, you are beyond salvation.

    Function is limited, see older posts, even the technique to achieve maximum cutting power is ridiculous in terms usability. Some katanas don't even have a crossguard, so you can't even parry, instead you have to deflect, and this is supposed to be highly functional? It is a joke.

    "artistry" was necessary, since raw materials have been scarce. And a katana being more a ceremonial weapon is what I've said from the very beginning.

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