Swords in Traveller

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 14:33:58 -0400
From: Mark Urbin
Subject: More EA nits

Since T4 added the fencing (with a sword, not moving hot comm units) skill, and made such a fuss about Nobles dueling, I would like to see what a well dressed M-0 Sylean noble carried.

Granddad's old rapier still would have been TL-10, even if he got from his Granddad, TL 9. It would light, strong, hold a good edge, and be very expensive. Engraving, craftsmanship, like the Sylean TL 10 revolver. For Nobles, made by one of a few well known sword makers. A particular sword could be associated with various noble titles. "The Snartbartfast Blade is only carried by the Count (Countess) of Snartbartfast." Ownership is passed along with the title. Knightly orders may have a blade that is presented to it's members when they are knighted. Sort of like a KofC blade, but more functional.

What's a good solid Imperial Marine Cutlass like? Heavier than the rapier, keeps an edge through the Marines' hitch. Even when it's used to chop firewood, or to pry the lids off wine crates. Oh ya, it has to stay looking good. Is there an Imperial Sunburst on the bell guard, along with the Unit insignia?

A crate of surplus Imperial Marine Cutlasses would be worth their weight in gold (or any other material you want that they have) on a world with a TL less than 4.

Perhaps the cutlass a Marine receives when he musters out is an award. Top Marine NCO in the Battalion for that year. Presented to officers who complete the Advanced Ground Tactics course in the top quarter. That sort of thing. These cutlasses would be engraved with the award, and perhaps the name and unit of the owner. The information would be on the blade or inside the bell guard.

[Posted to the xboat list]

John R. Snead wrote:

>My problem is that swords in space are just *too* silly.
    Depends on what you are using them for.

>I'm reminded far too much of the overblown space operas of the 30s and 40s. 
  That's the idea. :-)

>There are 
>other, more interesting (to me) answers.  Snub pistols were mentioned as 
>being designed for this purpose.  Their recoil is low and the 
>penetration for all shell types except HEAP is 1.  They basically can't 
>accidentally harm anything in the ship.  In addition, sonic stunners (if 
>used), gas rounds, and for the very high tech, neural weapons all all 
>good choices for non-military shipboard combat. 
   Good against unarmored foes to be more percise.
>For military battles things become a bit different:
>Laser pistols (TL: 9) and Gauss pistols both only have penetrations of 4. 
>This is enough to penetrate all standard vacc suits, but if every major
>piece of equipment on a military starship had armor of at least 8 they
>would be useful weapons.  However, if the military is fighting other
>military it is likely that everyone is wearing at least Combat Armor TL-12
>(armor value 10).  No hand weapons except Axes and Harlberds (not very
>convenient to wield in a starship corridor) can do anything against this
>type of armor.  In addition, most slug throwers and lasers have trouble
>handling this type of armor. 
   The ax would be your best bet.  The classic E.E. "Doc" Smith Space Ax. Made out of very dense, high tech material, with a cutting edge and a piercing spike.  It's a weapon requiring skill to weild effectively against armored foes.  An armored knight feared a skilled foe with a poniard more than a peasant with a bill hook. 
   An idea I had was for a retractable 'ice pick' of crystaliron or SD material built into the forearm of Battle Dress.  Like the poniard of old, it would be used against the weak points of armor.  Such as the joints or faceplace.

>The weapons that can penetrate such armor and do significant damage are 
>also a danger to the starship.  The problem is much worse when dealing 
>with TL 14 armor (AV: 18).  To achieve a high penetration shot on that 
>kind of armor you risk using a weapon that can shoot through the hull, 
>and destroying the ship they are trying to capture.
   Depends on what you want.  If you want the ship, you minimize the damage.  If you want the cargo, you just try not to blow up the ship or at least the cargo bay.

>I'm not sure of how to get around this problem, other than to say that
>mostly military forces just blow up starships at a distance rather than 
>attempting to board.
   This is a safer tactic.  You only board if you want to capture the ship, or something/someone on it.  A Princess involved in the Rebel underground for example.  :-)

[sent to xboat@mpgn.com]

  Last time the Carrier JFK was in Boston, Ed Barach & I spent hours in the hot sun waiting to get on board.  It was worth it.
  One of the displays was the weapons used by the Shipboard Security Marines.

  When asked about the shotgun, the Marine on duty spoke of it fondly. :-)
They loaded Double-0 buckshot.  A couple of shots would fill a shipboard corridor with a dozen .30 caliber rounds bouncing off the metal floor, ceiling, and walls.
  Good shipboard weapon.  Fills the corridor, doesn't penetrate, good stopping power.
  Jump forward a millennium or so...The ship is a starship, the boarders are wearing combat armor at least as tough as the ship's bulkheads.  Any weapon that can breech the armor, can damage the ship.
  Have the shot gun fire 'tanglers', perhaps even designed to gum up the target's comm gear and sensors.  Then advance with that Space Ax!

>From: Robert Flammang 
>Some comments con a post by Jo Grant:
>[ Date: 24 Apr 96 15:14:54 EDT
>[ From: Jo Grant
>[ >I always had a vague idea that marines were trained in blades as ideal
>[ >weapons for close-in shipboard combat which (unlike most projectile,
>[ >etc. weapons) would not unduly damage any of the ship's fragile
>[   Damn right! You can look at it two ways: Either the normal
>[ projectiles are of higher penetration than the walls and would,
>[ thus, endanger the integrity of your vessel by firing them, or
>[ they are of lower penetration than the walls and would, thus
>[ endanger the integrity of your troops by ricocheting about the
>[ place.
>[   Either way guns and space ships do not mix. (Any Military
>[ Submarine types have any comments about weapons policy on
>[ underwater vessels?) Swords are your only man.
>The US Marines maintain security on board its submarines (and all other
>US warships, for that matter) using automatic shotguns which are called,
>in the jargon, "CAW's" (Combat Assault Weapons.) When a security breach
>alarm is sounded, all personel (except for the security guards of
>course) onboard the ship must hit the deck, security squads of marines
>patrolling the ship then immediately gun down anyone they see standing.
>This means that the perp will either be dead from standing up, or easily
>caught while crawling on the deck.
>Of course, the crew lying on the floor get sprayed with buckshot
>recoiling from the bulkheads, but the buckshot used in the CAW's loses
>kinetic energy fairly rapidly, giving it a very short range, (not a
>problem on a ship) and  insuring that the ricochet projectiles are not
>deadly. (But keep your eyes shut!) The buckshot does not penetrate the
>the bulkheads; it merely loses its kinetic energy during the recoil
>to deformation, heat, and noise.
>I'm not a military submarine type, by the way; what I'm telling
>you is hearsay.
>IMHO, swords will remain important for ritual use, and for combat
>on high law-level worlds, but not for miliary action.

>The Japanese in WWII used their swords to execute prisoners and maintain
>discipline. I always assumed that Imperial Marines used their swords for
>the same purpose.

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