Weapons of Amazon: Total War Re-Ignited

by Parthian Shot

These are the new weapons introduced in Amazon Total war Reignited. Each has been thoroughly researched and meticulously prepared for the game. There has been evidence unearthed to support that these new weapons did in fact exist, though like most ancient weapons, those that worked out exceptionally well were often borrowed by those coming in contact with them- usually from the pointy end.

Double-Bow

This is in use by many units in the Amazon factions in this mod. This is a weapon appeared in ancient Hindu as well as Persian manuscripts. The deployment of such weapon is perhaps much more ancient than the date of the manuscripts. The primary advantage of the double-bow is to allow archers with shorter arms (or equestrian with confined space such as on the horseback or on a chariot) to achieve parity against bow of longer draw. The simple physics is that the longer the draw of the bow, the faster and farther the arrow (or missile) will go. The other way to make the missile to go faster with shorter draw is to add more poundage onto the bow. As the poundage increases, however, the limbs and the bowstring will go through much faster rate of wear and tear and therefore break much more frequently. So the Double-Bow, or the Double Draw Bow is introduced as a solution.

The double bow has one riser (the static, none-flexing part of the bow which also doubles as a grip) but with two separate sets of limbs (or prods, as it was commonly called in ancient time). Unlike the modern compound bow with split limbs, each set of limbs has its own separate bow string.

To shoot the bow, the archer first draw one bowstring to a hook on the gorget (neck armor), she then draws the second bow string onto the same hook. The archer then attach either a shaft as a guide, if she is shooting the stone, lead block, or as in Amazon Total War - Reignited mod, iron-casing filled with lead. Or she would attach an arrow with special nock onto both of the bowstrings. Once the projectile is in place, the drawing hand then took over the hook and release both bow strings at once.

For archer who is not wearing armor, such as the Finnic Amazon Archers in the mod, she would use a metal bite, and use their teeth to hold the bite while drawing bow strings. The bite has a smooth protrusion which functions as a hook, and the bowstrings are nocked onto the hook, while their teeth are holding the hook!

The bow is actually designed to shoot stone, lead block, or as in the case of this game-mod, iron-casing filled with lead, but usually not the regular arrows, because the nock of an arrow for such a bow must be specially made to allow the arrow to be attached to both bowstrings at once. Such custom made part is a very expensive proposition in the ancient days. Whereas, if the bow is shooting a stone or a lead block, a bare arrow shaft, or multiple shafts bound together is used as a guide, and the projectile is launched using the binded shaft(s) as a rail. In the Amazon Reignited mod, the Geothe Amazon archers shoot iron-casings the size of a thumb (1.25 inch diameter, 3 inches long), which is filled inside with lead. The tail-end of the cylindrical casing is fluted to allow the missile to spin in the air, so this in effect, become an ancient form of rifling armor piercing bullet.

Fluted Iron-Casing filled with Lead

The making of arrow shaft is not as simple in the antiquity as it is today. So it is actually more economical to shoot stone, lead block, or lead ingot with a bow. Lead can be easily melted and measured and made to the precise weight and shape, than a long piece of wooden shaft, which must be aged, cured, inspected, then hewed or lathed to guarantee the straightness of the shaft. The lead is also a more ballistic efficient material than wood, and will shoot farther and retain more velocity at long range, with the compromise that it is a higher density projectile, so its initial velocity is slower than the wooden arrow. The iron-casing is used during war time to allow the missile to become armor piercing. One benefit of iron and lead combination is that, as the iron-casing goes through shield or armor, the kinetic energy of the missile is suddenly translated into heat, so the impact of the missile also allows the iron to heat up the lead so as to turn the lead into toxic vapor or liquid, while the iron-casing is still penetrating through the target.

Large Composite Bow

A regular composite bow is for archer to draw naturally, such that her draw length is the length measured from her chin to her shoulder plus the length of her arm. In preparing for war, the military planner would sought ways to improve the range of their warrior's missile weapons. The simplest way is to equip the archer with larger bow, and ask her to draw the bowstring passing her chin. Composite bow is easier to increase in size as well as draw-weight than a one-piece wooden bow. Because the increased stress on larger bow can be matched by adding laminating material on the reflexing side of the bow to strengthen its structural integrity, whereas, the one piece wooden bow is limited by the strength of the wood.

The large composite bow would allow the archer to draw the bowstring to the opposite shoulder, so as to allow 25%-35% increase in energy. This would translate to harder hitting arrow or slightly longer range (about 10-15%).

Giant Composite Bow

When the larger size composite bow is not hard hitting enough. There is the giant composite bow. The archer would draw the bow string past her chin and then past her other shoulder, and the draw stops with her drawing arm fully extended up to her drawing arm's elbow. The giant composite bow can be dangerous to the foe, and to the shooter alike, because it is easy for a novice archer to knock off her own ear or nose if the bow string is not released with the proper shooting form.

As dangerous and as difficult to aim as it can be, the giant composite bow increases the draw length by 75% and the range of the missile is increased by 35%.

One of the major disadvantage of the Giant Composite bow shooting arrows as its projectile, is the limited amount of arrow-store an archer can carry with her. It is a not necessarily a matter of weight, more pressingly it is matter of the volume, because the arrow for such bow would be the size of small javelin, an archer can only afford enough carrying space to carry 10-15 reloads with her, before the load gets cumbersome, whether she is on horseback or on foot.

Giant Double Composite Bow

Of the most freakish horse archery missile weapon in the antiquity must be the giant double composite bow. The archer must have a perfect shooting form, and using a special bite in her mouth, she is able to draw the bow to her opposite (drawing arm's) elbow. She would then use the special bite which has a long extension and double as a launch rail. The length of the extension is usually measured to half of the archer's shoulder width, plus the arm length up to her elbow.

To shoot the weapon, the archer first securely place the bite in her mouth with the long extension pointing opposite of her bow arm, she then extends her bow arm fully, and draw the first bow string past her chin, then past the opposite shoulder, and when her drawing arm is fully extended except at the elbow, she has to find and place the bowstring onto the end of the mouth extension (the nocking point) while she is biting down the bite, along with the extension, to hold off the drawing weight of the bowstring. She then draws the second bowstring to the same spot. so now with her mouth biting down hard to hold both bow strings at the end of the mouthpiece, she somehow has to place the projectile at the nocking point. Her drawing hand now slowly replacing the hold of the bowstrings on the mouth piece, and she would then adjust the aim, then release the missile.

The Giant Double Composite Bow can almost double the range of regular composite bow, but it would be difficult to shoot an arrow with it because it is impossible to place and nock the arrow onto the bowstrings and replace the hold from the mouth piece onto the drawing hand, all of the steps with the archer not able to look at the nocking point. So the Giant Double Composite Bow must be shot with stone, lead block, or lead ingot, or iron-casing shot filled with lead.

Large Double Composite Bow

Of all the technological quests in the ancient time to allow horse archer to shoot missiles farther with harder hitting power. The Large Double Composite Bow is perhaps the most rational weapon. It uses double sets of limbs and double bowstrings, plus an anchor point on the shoulder, so the archer would draw her bowstring past her chin, and keep on pulling until she can place the bowstring onto the shoulder armor plate on her opposite shoulder. There is a hook on the shoulder armor plate which is polished and smoothed so as not to cut the bowstring, the archer would place the bowstrings, either one at the time or two of them together, and place the strings onto the hook. The archer would then place the projectile (be it arrow or pyro-jar, or lead ingot, or iron casing) either on the rail, or on the bow string and release both of the bowstrings with her drawing hand.

Another advantage of the LDCB is that if the archer has two nocking hooks attached to either side of her shoulder armor, she would be able to easily shoot the bow ambidextrously on the horseback.

Amazon Mano Ballista

By name it implies this weapon is a man-portable ballista. Contrary to popular belief, this is a very different weapon from a crossbow. A mano-ballista uses torsion spring mechanism whereas a crossbow uses compression spring mechanism.

On the mano ballista, there is no limb or prod that flexes to store energy. Instead, there is a pair of metal or wooden rods each is insert into its own turret like rotary wheel. Each wheel is tightly bound with sinew or hair. or if the advanced metalsmithing is available, metal torque spring, the weapon, in its common form would otherwise resembles a crossbow, except the rod does not flex, and the spring power came from the sinew, hair strains, or rotary metal torque spring on the rotary wheels.

The real advantage of the mano-ballista is the fact that the weapon can be rapidly mass-produced. Whereas a composite bow takes 5 years for the laminated layers of glue to cure, the mano-ballista can be quickly assembled and deployed if all the components are available. It is also more powerful and accurate (ie. less variation on the speed of the missile) than most limb flexing bows. But it takes longer to draw and to shoot and some designs are more cumbersome to carry.

So here we are describing the Amazon Mano-Ballista, and the main difference is its loading method. The mano-ballista archer on horseback would place one end of Mano-Ballista onto the sole of one of her sandals. She would then pull the launching rope/string back with one arm, while her foot is holding the other end of the mano-ballista, and in effect, "cock" the ballista in one pull. She would then level the weapon and place the projectile on the launching string pouch, aim the weapon and shoot. The sequence is almost as fast as shooting a regular horse bow. But the weapon is far more powerful because the drawing method with a foot and a hand can insert much higher poundage into the mano-ballista than a bow or smaller mano-ballista drawn with just two hands.

There is often a misconception that only the Greeks, and later the Romans, have such technology to make the mano-ballista in 270BC. If we look further east to the Orient, the entire army of the King Chu of China, of approximately 300,000 soldiers, is outfitted with crossbows, catapult, and mano-ballistae as early as 480BC at all level of their army.

Caro Ballista

This is the same carriage ballista from the RTW/BI, but fires the powerful pyro-thermite-jar to long range. Missile launching platform like this is actually fairly common, because the Amazon and many people of the Caucasus of their time are, from period to period, wandering wagon people.

Pyro-Jar

This is an ancient weapon which can be used either as a grenade or as a ballista launched projectile (like an ancient form of rifle launched grenade).

This is not simply an incendiary weapon. The main difference is that incendiary weapon causes fire, whereas, the thermite weapon superheats the target it impacts and turn it (the target) into combustible fuel.

The ancient form of thermite jar is an earthen jar the size of a small milk bottle. Prior to launch or throwing, a small piece of iron spike is inserted or affixed at the bottom of the jar. The spike has an iron stop against the jar in such fashion that, once airborne and impact on a surface, the iron spike which hits the impact surface first would be pushed back and its backend stop would split the bottom of the jar and thereupon breaking the jar. The iron spike also double as a ballistic stabilizer, because it is heavier in density than the jar, it would land first on impact. And the combination of iron spike with the jar will minimized the chance of the projectile to tumble or wobble in flight.

The jar is filled with thermite material in the form of phosphor isolated in a special non-oxygenated liquid, with the tail-end of the jar filled with magnesium and rust. The idea of thermite is to create a super-heated thermal reaction to 2,500 degree Celsius. A small milk bottle sized jar would super-heat a frontage about 16 square-foot, and turn everything which normally do not burn, into combustible fuel (hence the definition of thermite), that includes shield, armor (iron or bronze), clothing, and flesh. At that temperature, rust, as well as water (remember that human body is 95% liquid, 55-60% pure water) will become an oxidizing agent for the ignition and thereafter the high speed combustion of the target area. The rest is just gory details.

As to the manufacturing of the ingredients (warning-people don't try this at home), it is a much less glamorous task. Phosphor, for example, can be extracted and isolated from urine, and human body has an amazing amount of phosphor needed for cell membrane functions, as in phospholipids. Magnesium can be mined naturally from magnesite, a magnesium carbonate mineral. Rust can be any metallic rust.

There were feedback that the pyro-jar is simply too powerful on the battlefield in this mod. But the other side of the rebuttal is that, this is all realistic as well as do-able once a faction figures out the logistics of how to store them and transport them to the battlefield.

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