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Thread: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

  1. #1

    Default Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    It seems an almost asinine comparison. A 60 ft. trebuchet vs. a 16th century musket. There should be no comparison. One would expect kinetic energy levels for the trebuchet to be several orders of magnitudes greater than the musket. Yet, one would be wrong. The kinetic energy levels are surprising similar.

    First the weigh in. In the atomweight class:

    Name: Doppelhaken G 358 (A heavy Spanish Musket from the 16th Century)
    Weight: 18 kg
    Length: 1.655 meters (5.4 ft.)
    Caliber: 20.6mm (.81 caliber)
    Bullet Diameter: 20.2mm
    Bullet Mass: 49.14 grams
    Muzzle Velocity: 533 m/s

    In the super heavyweight class:

    Name: Warwick Trebuchet (At one time the largest and most powerful trebuchet)
    Weight: 22,000 kg
    Height: 18.29 meters
    Projectile Mass: 18,000 grams (18 kg) (Updated: Independently Verified)
    Launch Velocity: 31 m/s (Updated: Independently Verified)

    So now the fight: Kinetic energy numbers

    Musket: 6,980 joules (muzzle)
    Musket: 1,200 joules (joules) @ 300 meters (inclusive of drag)
    Trebuchet: 8,650 joules ("muzzle")
    Trebuchet: 13,200 joules (At impact - Exclusive of drag; Note the projectile was launched from an estimated height of 27 meters)

    As you see, energies are similar at the "muzzle" and the trebuchet will retain more energy at distance!


    Why such low energy from the trebuchet? Steven Seigars, a trebuchet builder, gave two reasons for the low energy levels:

    First, the counterweight stores minimal energy per unit mass. A 100 kg weight suspended 1 meter stores less than 1,000 joules of energy. For comparison, gasoline stores 46,000 joules per gram (a minuscule amount that weighs less than a multivitamin). Even one kg of sinew stores several times more than the 100 kg counterweight!

    The second reason, he explained, was the immense mass of the arm made the trebuchet very inefficient. A trebuchet the size of the Warwick trebuchet would have a throwing arm mass of several 1,000 kgs. Moving that arm saps much of the energy. The late, great biomechanical engineer from Duke, Steven Vogel, wrote the mass tax of a trebuchet is typically around 90%, compared to 50% for the bow and 30% for the ballista.

    *NOTE: BOLD TEXT IS UPDATED BASED ON NEW, INDEPENDENT ANALYSIS.
    Last edited by Hurricane Six; September 02, 2019 at 02:05 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    I wonder why'd you choose Warwick trebuchet as example of large trebuchet, while it's one of smaller ones when compared to historical pieces, and built in modern times for entertainment purposes. You should have picked something like Warwolf that used ten times as heavy projectiles, and is quite well documented.

    And on the other hand, what you used for musket is one of heavier wall mounted pieces. It comes off as rather skewed comparison. Plus, launch energy is not exactly best measure for weapons using vastly different kinds of projectile over different flight path.

  3. #3
    Spear Dog's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Simple physics. They're both kinetic weapons, so the projectile with the greatest mass wins. Range and velocity are pretty much irrelevant in this comparison, unless you're aiming for that; 'tensile strength of a spiderweb is greater than steel' type comparison BS.






  4. #4

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    A trebuchet that throws only 18 kg is not in tne super heavy weitht class, Counterweight trebuchets could throw 50 kg, 100 kg or more.

    If you compared a true heavy weight trebuchet, it would be more powerful than the large musket. By chemical energy is more dense, pound for pound, than the mechanical energy of the trebuchet, that is true.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    A trebuchet that throws only 18 kg is not in tne super heavy weitht class, Counterweight trebuchets could throw 50 kg, 100 kg or more.
    The warwick trebuchet has thrown 36 kg stones to nearly 100 meters. The warwick trebuchet would be able to throw 50 kg + projectiles, but it has a lightweight throwing arm, which is not historically accurate. The lightweight throwing arm increases efficiency, but cannot handle heavyweight projectiles.

    I wonder why'd you choose Warwick trebuchet as example of large trebuchet, while it's one of smaller ones when compared to historical pieces, and built in modern times for entertainment purposes. You should have picked something like Warwolf that used ten times as heavy projectiles, and is quite well documented.
    I chose warwick because “This is the largest siege machine IN THE WORLD” according to Warwick castle’s website. Regarding the size of projectiles it throws see above. It would easily be able to fire 50 kg+ projectiles if it had a heavier, stronger throwing arm.

    Regarding Warwolf, I have seen a vast array of different dimensions and performance figures. One site says it was 300 to 400 ft. tall. Another said its counterweight was 15 tons. Yet another said it could launch 90 kg to 100 meters (Warwick can launch a 36 kg to 90+ meters). Another site says 90 kg to 300 meters. Kinetic energy ranges from 50kj to 130+kj.

    Whatever the truth it, it almost certainly was the largest trebuchet ever built. As such, it was an outlier. Like the tb 41 anti-tank rifle (91 kj – right around that of the Warwolf trebuchet).

    And on the other hand, what you used for musket is one of heavier wall mounted pieces. It comes off as rather skewed comparison. Plus, launch energy is not exactly best measure for weapons using vastly different kinds of projectile over different flight path.
    The musket I used, while heavy, can be operated by one man in the field. I have seen people fire 20 kg+ rifles off-hand. Using a forked rest, the Spanish heavy musket could be operated in the field. I also used the most powerful trebuchet reproduction that I could find as well.

    I agree that they are totally different projectiles w/ totally different purposes. The momentum of the trebuchet projectile will be much higher and it would be primarily used against fortifications. The musket would be primarily used as an anti-personnel weapon. However, kinetic energy is an honest measure of projectile energy.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    While the counterweight trebuchet is moderately more powerful than the musket, the musket definitely out-ranges the counterweight and traction trebuchet.

    Max range of a traction trebuchet with half a thousand pullers: 215 meters according to Dr. Stephen Ressler who was a Professor Emeritus from West Point
    .
    Max range of a 49.14 gram lead ball at 533 m/s @ STP: 1,800+ yards.

    Terminal velocity is 245 fps and terminal energy is over 100 ft. lbs. , or approx. twice the energy of a 6 stone han crossbow at 200 meters. Lethal to anyone without protective gear.
    Last edited by Hurricane Six; August 23, 2019 at 01:18 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Six View Post
    While the counterweight trebuchet is moderately more powerful than the musket, the musket definitely out-ranges the counterweight and traction trebuchet.

    Max range of a traction trebuchet with half a thousand pullers: 215 meters according to Dr. Stephen Ressler who was a Professor Emeritus from West Point
    .
    Max range of a 49.14 gram lead ball at 533 m/s @ STP: 1,800+ yards.

    Terminal velocity is 245 fps and terminal energy is over 100 ft. lbs. , or approx. twice the energy of a 6 stone han crossbow at 200 meters. Lethal to anyone without protective gear.

    And the musket is easier to aim than a trebuchet. You could aim and track a moving target with your musket in anyway you never could with a trebuchet. You couldn't pick out an individual to hit with a trbuchet, but you can with a musket.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    While the counterweight trebuchet is moderately more powerful than the musket, the musket definitely out-ranges the counterweight and traction trebuchet.

    Max range of a traction trebuchet with half a thousand pullers: 215 meters according to Dr. Stephen Ressler who was a Professor Emeritus from West Point
    Umm traction Trebuchets are not the same as the the counterweight weapons you started out with in your OP.

    Second your conclusion "While the counterweight Trebuchet is moderately more powerful than the musket" is not sustained by your OP. First you use the generic term musket when if fact using an example of a not really the Brown Bess most people would think of by musket. And in comparison a completely arbitrary load and model of trebuchet.

    But that's a quibble the bigger issue is I am not sure what you are getting at. You are using what amounts to energy at the muzzle, not delivered energy so I think you have a problem there. More important Trebuchets (the counter wight ones) were not supplanted by a couple Spanish musketeers but by you know by cannons. In this case I have no ideal what the 'muzzel velocity of the Warwolf was, but you can be sure the prospect of it tossing a 13kg shot did not scare the Scots into surrender, but rather its advertised max toss weight of ~140 kg. That would by my coffee stained post it note calculation be ~204,120 J (at the same launch velocity you cited). Were I a thinking stone wall I believe I'd rather more worried about the Warwolf than a Doppelhaken G 358

    @ Common Soldier - Last I checked the stuff you typically shoot with a trebuchet was not high on the mobility scale, I don't think most castles can run away or duck.
    Last edited by conon394; August 23, 2019 at 06:26 PM.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by conon394 View Post
    Umm traction Trebuchets are not the same as the the counterweight weapons you started out with in your OP.

    Second your conclusion "While the counterweight Trebuchet is moderately more powerful than the musket" is not sustained by your OP. First you use the generic term musket when if fact using an example of a not really the Brown Bess most people would think of by musket. And in comparison a completely arbitrary load and model of trebuchet.

    But that's a quibble the bigger issue is I am not sure what you are getting at. You are using what amounts to energy at the muzzle, not delivered energy so I think you have a problem there. More important Trebuchets (the counter wight ones) were not supplanted by a couple Spanish musketeers but by you know by cannons. In this case I have no ideal what the 'muzzel velocity of the Warwolf was, but you can be sure the prospect of it tossing a 13kg shot did not scare the Scots into surrender, but rather its advertised max toss weight of ~140 kg. That would by my coffee stained post it note calculation be ~204,120 J (at the same launch velocity you cited). Were I a thinking stone wall I believe I'd rather more worried about the Warwolf than a Doppelhaken G 358

    @ Common Soldier - Last I checked the stuff you typically shoot with a trebuchet was not high on the mobility scale, I don't think most castles can run away or duck.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Umm traction Trebuchets are not the same as the the counterweight weapons you started out with in your OP.
    No argument here. However, they are similar. Modest short arm to long arn ratios are characteristic of trebuchets (traction or otherwise)

    Second your conclusion "While the counterweight Trebuchet is moderately more powerful than the musket" is not sustained by your OP. First you use the generic term musket when if fact using an example of a not really the Brown Bess most people would think of by musket. And in comparison a completely arbitrary load and model of trebuchet.
    BS. I picked the most powerful mobile real musket I could find (after 2 minutes of searching) and the most POWERFUL real trebuchet (after endless searching) I can find. In fact,The trebuchet is hyper-modern (Ron Nimzowitsc anybody?). A modern, multi-iteration, of a medieval war machine with a ultra lightweight arm augmenting efficiency. BTW. The trebuchet load and model was world record .

  11. #11

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by conon394 View Post
    Umm traction Trebuchets are not the same as the the counterweight weapons you started out with in your OP.

    Second your conclusion "While the counterweight Trebuchet is moderately more powerful than the musket" is not sustained by your OP. First you use the generic term musket when if fact using an example of a not really the Brown Bess most people would think of by musket. And in comparison a completely arbitrary load and model of trebuchet.

    But that's a quibble the bigger issue is I am not sure what you are getting at. You are using what amounts to energy at the muzzle, not delivered energy so I think you have a problem there. More important Trebuchets (the counter wight ones) were not supplanted by a couple Spanish musketeers but by you know by cannons. In this case I have no ideal what the 'muzzel velocity of the Warwolf was, but you can be sure the prospect of it tossing a 13kg shot did not scare the Scots into surrender, but rather its advertised max toss weight of ~140 kg. That would by my coffee stained post it note calculation be ~204,120 J (at the same launch velocity you cited). Were I a thinking stone wall I believe I'd rather more worried about the Warwolf than a Doppelhaken G 358


    You are right, the musket was a different type of weapon, used for.different applicstion, than a tebuchet, either traction or counterweight. Tractions and counterweight trebuchets should be compared.to a cannon, either a light anti-personnel cannon like the breech loading swivel guns to the traction trebuchet or the bigger siege cannons to the counterweight trebuchet.

    A.light weight swivel cannon shot a 9 ounce (280 gram) lead ball. Assume 400 m/s speed (300 m/s would that of s gun like a 9mm, and I assume the swivel gun would be better than that, but not as good as the longer barrel musket ), that works to around 22,000 joules. It means that a swivel gun. Which could be operated by one person, was as powerful as a team of men operating a traction tebuchet.

    As for a larger cannon, the common 12 pounder Napoleon cannon shot a 12 pound iron ball at around 430 m/s, which represents something around 508,000 joules, still more powerful than the counterweight trebuchet. The early cannons would not be as powerful, but even at half the powerf of the Napoleon 22 pounder, they would have exceeded the counterweight trebuchet.


    @ Common Soldier - Last I checked the stuff you typically shoot with a trebuchet was not high on the mobility scale, I don't think most castles can run away or duck.
    The comparison I was thinking was with a traction trebuchet, which you might use against a block of troops. But you are right,.my point was that even at their best, trebuchets would not be nearly as effective against troops as muskets or cannons.

  12. #12
    Cookiegod's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    1) Numbers aren’t even remotely close. 7kJ vs 19kJ means the trebuchet has a strength comparable to three muskets.

    2) I'm a bit skeptical about the launch velocity numbers for the Trebuchet. I wouldn't be surprised if those guys simply ballparked numbers similarly to how I'm going to do it, perhaps even ignoring the vertical speed and focusing exclusively on the horizontal speed (aka: If it took X time to land at location Y, that gives us an average speed of Z). I might be wrong of course.

    3) It’s not the kinetic energy at the muzzle that matters, but the kinetic energy on impact: Drag increases exponentially with velocity. The tenfold speed of the musket bullet compared to the trebuchet means ~100 times more drag for the bullet, making it bleed energy fast and hard.
    That speed loss hurts the bullet doubly, as the kinetic energy is mv. So if you’ve lose half the speed, you lose 75% of the kinetic energy.

    The trebuchet on the other hand is playing the system with its extremely curved flight path. Not only does the low velocity mean rather energy bleed in spite of the larger stone surface, it’s also cheating the system, losing speed fast in the first half of its flightpath due to gravity before reconverting said potential energy into kinetic energy. The musket fires much less ballistic. Even at the maximum distance the warwick trebuchet could fire (300m according to google), the bullet would have made that trip in less than a second.

    So I did some quick math with what I presume to be the same dataset you did, extrapolating the velocity it would have had at 300m as well.
    data used to start with

    What I got is this:

    Note that the numbers in red are ballpark numbers, as I didn't bother do the exact calculations, but they don't matter to calculate the others regardless. They can just help you picture it better.

    I'm not going to bother doing similar calculations for the trebuchet. It'd be too time consuming for me to do so. But let's just spitball and say it loses 10% of its energy (probably much less), that'd mean it'd still hit a target at 300m distance with a force of roughly 17 kJ. The musket bullet on the other hand has lost more than half its energy at a distance of 100m (though its kinetic energy would still be roughly twice that of most modern assault rifles and unquestionably kill you), but by 300m it would have dropped to a mere 550 Joule. Arguably survivable for a soldier wearing a spanish helmet and a cuirass.

    Now I know what you're going to say: That muskets probably weren't used at such great distances. True. But then again: Trebuchets and muskets were used for entirely different purposes in entirely different periods of history.
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  13. #13
    alhoon's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Six View Post
    Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    It seems an almost asinine comparison. A 60 ft. trebuchet vs. a 16th century musket. There should be no comparison. One would expect kinetic energy levels for the trebuchet to be several orders of magnitudes greater than the musket. Yet, one would be wrong. The kinetic energy levels are surprising similar.

    First the weigh in. In the atomweight class:

    Name: Doppelhaken G 358 (A heavy Spanish Musket from the 16th Century)
    Weight: 18 kg
    Length: 1.655 meters (5.4 ft.)
    Caliber: 20.6mm (.81 caliber)
    Bullet Diameter: 20.2mm
    Bullet Mass: 49.14 grams
    Muzzle Velocity: 533 m/s

    In the super heavyweight class:

    Name: Warwick Trebuchet (At one time the largest and most powerful trebuchet)
    Weight: 22,000 kg
    Height: 18.29 meters
    Projectile Mass: 13,000 grams (13 kg)
    Launch Velocity: 54 m/s

    So now the fight: Kinetic energy numbers

    Musket: 6,980 joules
    Trebuchet: 18,954 joules

    As you see, while the trebuchet won, the actual energy numbers are very close indeed! Looking at it from a different perspective, the musket generates 388 joules per kg of mass. The trebuchet generates less than 0.87 joules per kg of mass.

    Why such low energy from the trebuchet? Steven Seigars, a trebuchet builder, gave two reasons for the low energy levels:

    First, the counterweight stores minimal energy per unit mass. A 100 kg weight suspended 1 meter stores less than 1,000 joules of energy. For comparison, gasoline stores 46,000 joules per gram (a minuscule amount that weighs less than a multivitamin). Even one kg of sinew stores several times more than the 100 kg counterweight!

    The second reason, he explained, was the immense mass of the arm made the trebuchet very inefficient. A trebuchet the size of the Warwick trebuchet would have a throwing arm mass of several 1,000 kgs. Moving that arm saps much of the energy. The late, great biomechanical engineer from Duke, Steven Vogel, wrote the mass tax of a trebuchet is typically around 90%, compared to 50% for the bow and 30% for the ballista.
    Kinetic energy is not an adequate measure of effectiveness IMO.

    Fire a musket against a castle's 5 ft thick walls and you'll see what I mean. Or try to throw a bucket of flaming pitch over said wall. Trebuchet >> musket.
    Now, try to use a trebuchet to hit 30 soldiers running towards you... Musket >> Trebuchet.

    A trebuchet and a musket have very different functions. It's like comparing a pen to a car. Sure, you can use the car to move around but you can't use it to write. That doesn't make the pen more efficient than a car.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spear Dog View Post
    Simple physics. They're both kinetic weapons, so the projectile with the greatest mass wins. Range and velocity are pretty much irrelevant in this comparison, unless you're aiming for that; 'tensile strength of a spiderweb is greater than steel' type comparison BS.
    No, the projectile with the higher mass doesn't win. What you want the projectile to do (kill people or break a wall) defines which is more effective. It's damn hard to load, aim and fire a trebuchet and you need a miracle to hit a moving target unless you fire the trebuchet in a field full of enemies.

    On the other end of the scale, a 20m lead bullet, using Newton's law of penetration, cannot dig deeper than 15 cm in sand, let alone damage a castle's walls.
    Last edited by alhoon; August 24, 2019 at 07:24 AM.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    1) Numbers aren’t even remotely close. 7kJ vs 19kJ means the trebuchet has a strength comparable to three muskets.
    The muskets in question were the old style Spanish Muskets that were large and require a pole to them up, and had long 2 meter barrels. They were.much larger than the later "muskets" like the Brown Hess. When armies stopped wearing heavy armor by the 18th century, these large Spanish muskets were no longer needed and stopped being used. The energy of something like a Brown Bess is #around 2500 to 3000 joules, depending on the amount of powder used.

    The 19kj is for a small traction trebuchet. For a large counterweight trebuchet, with a projectile 140 it and a range of 300 m, it implies a kinetic energy of around 206 kj Max range = V*2/G (neglecting resistance), implies 9.8*Max range * projectile mass * 0.5 = kinetic energy = 205.8 kJ. I neglected losses due to resistsnce, so the actual number is higher, but projectile isnrelatively slow (54 m/s) and heavy dense, so air resistance losses will be relatively small.


    and
    2) I'm a bit skeptical about the launch velocity numbers for the Trebuchet. I wouldn't be surprised if those guys simply ballparked numbers similarly to how I'm going to do it, perhaps even ignoring the vertical speed and focusing exclusively on the horizontal speed (aka: If it took X time to land at location Y, that gives us an average speed of Z). I might be wrong of course.


    3) It’s not the kinetic energy at the muzzle that matters, but the kinetic energy on impact: Drag increases exponentially with velocity. The tenfold speed of the musket bullet compared to the trebuchet means ~100 times more drag for the bullet, making it bleed energy fast and hard.
    That speed loss hurts the bullet doubly, as the kinetic energy is mv. So if you’ve lose half the speed, you lose 75% of the kinetic energy.

    The trebuchet on the other hand is playing the system with its extremely curved flights path. Not only does the low velocity mean rather energy bleed in spite of the larger stone surface, it’s also cheating the system, losing speed fast in the first half of its flightpath due to gravity before reconverting said potential energy into kinetic energy. The musket fires much less ballistic. Even at the maximum distance the warwick trebuchet could fire (300m according to google), the bullet would have made that trip in less than a second.

    So I did some quick math with what I presume to be the same dataset you did, extrapolating the velocity it would have had at 300m as well.
    data used to start with

    What I got is this: and

    Note that the numbers in red are ballpark numbers, as I didn't bother do the exact calculations, but they don't matter to calculate the others regardless. They can just help you picture it better.

    I'm not going to bother doing similar calculations for the trebuchet. It'd be too time consuming for me to do so. But let's just spitball and say it loses 10% of its energy (probably much less), that'd mean it'd still hit a target at 300m distance with a force of roughly 17 kJ. The musket bullet on the other hand has lost more than half its energy at a distance of 100m (though its kinetic energy would still be roughly twice that of most modern assault rifles and unquestionably kill you), but by 300m it would have dropped to a mere 550 Joule. Arguably survivable for a soldier wearing a spanish helmet and a cuirass.

    Now I know what you're going to say: That muskets probably weren't used at such great distances. True. But then again: Trebuchets and muskets were used for entirely different purposes in entirely different periods of history.
    The round musket balls have a lot of drag, more so than a modern rifle bullet. Modern rifle bullets are much smaller, and more streamlined, so they have less drag.

    And the trebuchets had different functions than a musket, so the ranges are notnreally valid. In addition to the loss in power, muskets became generally inaccurate beyond 100 m. Because the balls were undersized to the barrel to make loading the ball faster, the path ofnthr ball tended to fluctuate as it moved down the barrel. As the ball traveled further, the greater variation in the balls flight path and more likely it will miss the target. To get accuracy at long range. You need to have the ba fit the barrel tightly and out s spin on the ball by adding rifling to the barrel.

    Hence, muskets were used mostly at < 100 m.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    The muskets in question were the old style Spanish Muskets that were large and require a pole to them up, and had long 2 meter barrels. They were.much larger than the later "muskets" like the Brown Hess. When armies stopped wearing heavy armor by the 18th century, these large Spanish muskets were no longer needed and stopped being used. The energy of something like a Brown Bess is #around 2500 to 3000 joules, depending on the amount of powder used.
    And? I'm using the exact same musket as the basis for my calculations as the OP.
    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    The 19kj is for a small traction trebuchet. For a large counterweight trebuchet, with a projectile 140 it and a range of 300 m, it implies a kinetic energy of around 206 kj Max range = V*2/G (neglecting resistance), implies 9.8*Max range * projectile mass * 0.5 = kinetic energy = 205.8 kJ. I neglected losses due to resistsnce, so the actual number is higher, but projectile isnrelatively slow (54 m/s) and heavy dense, so air resistance losses will be relatively small.
    I don't get what kind of formula you're trying to do there. Range would depend on angle of the trajectory at the very start. That you could split into the vertical and horizontal speed. From the vertical speed you could derive the time before the stone would hit the earth. Multiply that time with the horizontal speed and you'd get the distance. Neglecting drag, the object would have the exact same kinetic energy at the start of the trajectory as at the end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    The round musket balls have a lot of drag, more so than a modern rifle bullet. Modern rifle bullets are much smaller, and more streamlined, so they have less drag.
    Yeah... I'm aware of that. I don't see what point you're trying to make with that though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    And the trebuchets had different functions than a musket, so the ranges are notnreally valid. In addition to the loss in power, muskets became generally inaccurate beyond 100 m. Because the balls were undersized to the barrel to make loading the ball faster, the path ofnthr ball tended to fluctuate as it moved down the barrel. As the ball traveled further, the greater variation in the balls flight path and more likely it will miss the target. To get accuracy at long range. You need to have the ba fit the barrel tightly and out s spin on the ball by adding rifling to the barrel.

    Hence, muskets were used mostly at < 100 m.
    Both weapons would have been hilariously inaccurate, so that argument goes pretty much nowhere. It's also besides the point which I was making.

    They weren't used in the same type of role ever, nor in the same timeframe. But historical use is not the point of the thread, but pure energy. Of course the comparison at ranges becomes valid, especially with the point I'm making: A musket could be fired at a large unit formation from 300m, aiming roughly 2.5m above them to counter the drop, and a hit would have had only a fraction of the initial energy, whereas the stone from the trebuchet would have kept most of its kinetic energy and always remain deadly.
    .







    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    And? I'm using the exact same musket as the basis for my calculations as the OP.
    I don't get what kind of formula you're trying to do there. Range would depend on angle of the trajectory at the very start. That you could split into the vertical and horizontal speed. From the vertical speed you could derive the time before the stone would hit the earth. Multiply that time with the horizontal speed and you'd get the distance. Neglecting drag, the object would have the exact same kinetic energy at the start of the trajectory as at the end.
    Range is a maxium when you toss something at a 45 degree angle, assuming no friction. Any other angle, you might get higher speed along the ground but the projectile won't go as high, and it will uit the ground sooner. Toss something upnat a higher angle, and it will stay in the airnlonyer, but will move forward at a slower speed, hence won't get as far when it hits the ground. It turns out that if you do the math, mad distance is velocity squared divided by acceleration due to gravity, whixhs is 9.8 m/s. Look it up.


    Both weapons would have been hilariously inaccurate, so that argument goes pretty much nowhere. It's also besides the point which I was making.
    Actually, the counterweight tebuchet accurafy is pretty good. Once you have the position right and the range right, it will hit the same spot pretty much all the time. And for close range, < 100 m, the accuracy of even s smooth poor musket is notnthst bad, if younaim at a man size object younczn hit it. Beyond 100m, chance are you won't.

    You can improve accuracy with a musket by making the ball fit tight in the barrel. Even a rifle will have lousy accuracy if the bullet doesn't fight. There is in the Internet a report ofna group in Australia, I think, that test fired a bunch of actual 17th century weapons and measured then speed and accuracy. You might be able to find it.

    They weren't used in the same type of role ever, nor in the same timeframe. But historical use is not the point of the thread, but pure energy. Of course the comparison at ranges becomes valid, especially with the point I'm making: A musket could be fired at a large unit formation from 300m, aiming roughly 2.5m above them to counter the drop, and a hit would have had only a fraction of the initial energy, whereas the stone from the trebuchet would have kept most of its kinetic energy and always remain deadly.
    A traction tebuchet doesn't have 300 m range, more like 150 m. Both traction trebuchets and muskets could be used against blocks of soldiers, so their roles are not that much different. A counterweight trebuchet is too slow & awkward to use against soldiers. The speed of the projectiles in both trebuchets is slow, and if you are using them at 300 m, or even 200 m, soldiers will have time to get out of the way.

    If you know the max range, you can calculated the initial speed of the projectile, and it turns out for the 140 kg counterweight trebuchet it is something like 55 m/s. At 300 m, that means it would take 5.5 sec for the projectile to hit. A person walks around 1 m/s, so the person could move 4.5 m after they saw the trebuchet release.and reacted to it, morenthsn enough to move them out of the way of the projectile.
    Last edited by Common Soldier; August 24, 2019 at 03:27 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    Range is a mad when you toss something at a 45 degree angle, assuming no friction. Any of other angle, you might get higher speed along the grounds but the projectile won't go as high, and it will uit the ground sooner. Toss something upnat a higher angle, and it will stay in the airnlonyer, but will move forward at a slower speed, hence won't get as far when it hits the ground. It turns out that if you do the math, mad distance is velocity squared divided by acceleration due to gravity, whixhs is 9.8 m/s. Look it up.
    I don't need to look it up. Range in an idealised world without drag would be s=cos(alpha)sin(alpha)v/g. s obviously (as can be read from the cos*sin part) greatest for alpha=45.

    First of all (and I only bothered to do that calculation now), that has made me realise that one of two claims has to be bogus. Start speed mentioned in the OP and the claim I googled about a max range of 300m/s are contradictory. Either a) the speed is correct, in which case the max range is less than 150m even if we ignore air resistance, or b) the top speed of the trebuchet would have to be 77m/s to be able to reach 300m.,

    Anyway, I'm not sure I get what you are trying to calculate at all. If it's the energy at the endpoint without drag, range doesn't matter at all. Simple energy conservation does the trick: mv.
    So for a 140kg object with a start speed of 54m/s that would mean 204 kJ, yes. Though those extreme trebuchets would obviously have been rare and neither of us actually know the speed it had. I'd assume the speed is too low for the warwolf.




    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    Actually, I he counterweight tebuchet acfuracynis pretty good. Once you have the position right and the range right, it will hit the same spot pretty much all the time. And for close range, < 100 m, the accuracy of even s smooth poor musket is notnthst bad, if younaim at a man size object younczn hit it. Beyond 100m, chance are you won't.
    You're comparing the ability of a trebuchet at hitting a castle sized object with that of a musket. I don't think the accuracy of the trebuchet was mansized good at a 300m distance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    Youncsn improve accuracy with a musketnby making the ball fit tight in the barrel. And even a rifle will have lousy accuracy if the bullet doesn't fight. There is in the Internet a report ofna group in Australia, I think, that test fired a bunch of actual 17th century weapons and measured then speed and accuracy. You might be able to find it.
    Don't know if it's Australian or not, but you can find the spreadsheet with experimental data from weapons tested in my post with the calculations



    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    A fraction tebuchet doesn't have 300 m range, more like 150 m. Both traction trebuchets and muskets could be used against blocks of soldiers, so their roles are not thuch different. A counterweight trebuchet is too slow awkward to use against soldiers. The speed of the projectiles in both trebuchets is slow, and if younsre using them at 300 m, or even 200 m, you have plenty of the time to get out of the way.
    Not necessarily, since 1) you don't see every object flying at you coming, especially not with the sensory overload you'd experience during a battle, 2) you're not sure where exactly it's going to land, 3) in the scenario given you'd have soldiers all around you blocking your way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    If you know the max range, you can calculated the initial speed of the projectile, and it turns out for the 140 kg counterweight trebuchet it is something like 55 m/s. At 300 m, that means it would take 5.5 sec for the projectile to hit. A person walks around 1 m/s, so the person could move 4.5 m after they saw the trebuchet release.and reacted to it, morenthsn enough to move them out of the way of the projectile.
    A 55m/s object could not reach 300m even under the most ideal circumstances. For a distance of 150m however that speed would have been surprisingly apt. The 5.5secs are likewise quite apt for a topspeed of 77m/s, whereas for 55m/s the projectile wouldn't have stayed airborne after 4 secs when thrown at a 45 angle. Ever had a football shot at you from far away? How often did it happen to you that you exactly knew where it would land the moment it was shot from far away? 300m is the equivalent of 3 FIFA-footballfields between you and the shooter. The trebuchet projectiles weren't usually particularly round, nor were they uniform, and you'd get spin and all kinds of mess on that one as well. So those shots wouldn't have hit the exact same spot.

    And again: We're talking about a battle and formation, where the soldiers are under pressure and sensory overload. Even if the projectile didn't kill anyone, but cause the formation to break up because all of the people trying to get out of its way, it would still have done its job very, very well. Fun fact: That's what even artillery in the modern day is quite often doing. Even though it was the primary cause of combat deaths in WW2, its most detrimental effect on enemy combat capability was through morale and other "soft" effects.
    .







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  18. #18

    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    I don't need to look it up. Range in an idealised world without drag would be s=cos(alpha)sin(alpha)v/g. s obviously (as can be read from the cos*sin part) greatest for alpha=45.

    First of all (and I only bothered to do that calculation now), that has made me realise that one of two claims has to be bogus. Start speed mentioned in the OP and the claim I googled about a max range of 300m/s are contradictory. Either a) the speed is correct, in which case the max range is less than 150m even if we ignore air resistance, or b) the top speed of the trebuchet would have to be 77m/s to be able to reach 300m.,

    Anyway, I'm not sure I get what you are trying to calculate at all. If it's the energy at the endpoint without drag, range doesn't matter at all. Simple energy conservation does the trick: mv.
    So for a 140kg object with a start speed of 54m/s that would mean 204 kJ, yes. Though those extreme trebuchets would obviously have been rare and neither of us actually know the speed it had. I'd assume the speed is too low for the warwolf.
    Your math is off. I suggest you calculate it. Arrows have a lot of drag, so they don't go nearly as far as their initial kineticenergy suggest, which is why you see shorter ranges. The larger, more massive projectiles would be less affected by air drag. But since we assumed no drag, the figures are correct.

    I grant.in real life, there is drag, and so to go 300 m, you would need a higher initial speed, but calculating airndrag is complicated and we are only interest in ball park figures. The range is important, because it is the only value we have. While we can accurately measure the range of the trebuchet projectiles, measuring the speed would be very tricky, and I do not know of anyone who has actually done it. The high arc and size would make it difficult to actually measure the speed.

    However, if we know the max distance, we can calculate the speed. Assuming no drag will give a lower limit of speed and kinetic energy, because of drag you will need a higher initial speed to go the same distance.


    You're comparing the ability of a trebuchet at hitting a castle sized object with that of a musket. I don't think the accuracy of the trebuchet was mansized good at a 300m distance.
    Counterweight trebuchet is accurate. I suggest you watch the performance of actual trebuchets working. Once everything is dialed in, they can hit the same spot pretty much every time. Of course, ifnthere is a wind, that will through off accuracy. At 300 m, you will want to use round shaped stone projectiles of the same size for consistency

    Don't know if it's Australian or not, but you can find the spreadsheet with experimental data from weapons tested in my post with the calculations
    It's Austria (German), not Australian, and I don't have time to look it up. You can search for yourself, I found it once, you should be able to too.


    Not necessarily, since 1) you don't see every object flying at you coming, especially not with the sensory overload you'd experience during a battle, 2) you're not sure where exactly it's going to land, 3) in the scenario given you'd have soldiers all around you blocking your way.
    Hounding need to. You see the arm of the trebuchet release, ND younno where the trebuchet is facing. Jospehus saidnthst in the siege of Jerusalem the defenders could see the incoming Roman rocks and give warning to others.

    A 55m/s object could not reach 300m even under the most ideal circumstances. For a distance of 150m however that speed would have been surprisingly apt. The 5.5secs are likewise quite apt for a topspeed of 77m/s, whereas for 55m/s the projectile wouldn't have stayed airborne after 4 secs when thrown at a 45 angle. Ever had a football shot at you from far away? How often did it happen to you that you exactly knew where it would land the moment it was shot from far away? 300m is the equivalent of 3 FIFA-footballfields between you and the shooter. The trebuchet projectiles weren't usually particularly round, nor were they uniform, and you'd get spin and all kinds of mess on that one as well. So those shots wouldn't have hit the exact same spot.
    Actually they did use shaped round projectiles for trebuchets. If you are shooting at 300 m, you would be using shaped balls, because using any old rock younwill not be able to hit the same spot at that range, it is true. 54 m/s will reach 300 m in a vacuum, but not the real world with air drag. 77m/s with drag? Perhaps.

    for you guys back
    And again: We're talking about a battle and formation, where the soldiers are under pressure and sensory overload. Even if the projectile didn't kill anyone, but cause the formation to break up because all of the people trying to get out of its way, it would still have done its job very, very well. Fun fact: That's what even artillery in the modern day is quite often doing. Even though it was the primary cause of combat deaths in WW2, its most detrimental effect on enemy combat capability was through morale and other "soft" effects.
    Agreed. I said something similar earlier. Traction Trebuchets could be used against personal formations , but counterweight trebuchets were too slow, and I never heard them used except against formations
    Last edited by Common Soldier; August 26, 2019 at 02:44 AM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Hounding need to. You see the arm of the trebuchet release, ND younno where the trebuchet is facing. Jospehus saidnthst in the siege of Jerusalem the defenders could see the incoming Roman rocks and give warning to others.
    To be fair that was as I recall the 1 talent balls (~26kg)(and some larger two 2 or 3 talents) being lobbed at long range 400-450 meters. Not a problem I suppose if you are aiming at a fixed weapon or defensive wall. Of course the Roman torsion artillery could be more easily re-aimed than a large trebuchet. Also the release m/s was a lot higher on classical torsion artillery. At ~90-118 ms and at the recommended distance for leveling walls (160-200 meters) target reaction time would be less than watching long range arcing fire.

    Agreed. I said something similar earlier. Traction Trebuchets could be used against personal formations , but counterweight trebuchets were too slow, and I never heard them used except against formations
    Exactly why traction terbuchets survived for so long rate of fire trumped mass depending on the situation/goal
    Last edited by conon394; August 24, 2019 at 10:42 PM.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Where early muskets as powerful as multiple tonne trebuchets? A Comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    Your math is off. I suggest you calculate it.
    Yep. I missed a "2", since flight time is t=2v/g. I didn't think that far that the stone needs to come down again once v=gt. whups.

    Doesn't really matter though. The entire exercise is pointless, since it's reacting to my calculations on the musket WITH air resistance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    It's Austria (German), not Australian, and I don't have time to look it up. You can search for yourself, I found it once, you should be able to too.
    Then don't write Australia. Once again I have a data sheet up there. So no need to refer me to something I already used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    Jospehus saidnthst in the siege of Jerusalem the defenders could see the incoming Roman rocks and give warning to others.
    Standing on a wall is an entirely different situation to moving on a chaotic battlefield.
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