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Ella2 6
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Founded: May 16, 2016
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Postby Ella2 6 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:03 am

Vals is correct. Historians suspect that gunpowder was discovered as early as the 1st or 2nd century, but it was not until the 14th and 15th century that the arquebus and the musket first appeared in the Ottoman empire. The middles ages ended in the 15th century, so it's mainly the 15th century that people are talking about gunpowder being very prevalent.

Wikipedia is not good for giving very fine and specific details but is excellent for sweeping overviews especially in ancient history. For this reason, Wikipedia articles are a good starting point for further research. I'll link the relevant posts here.

The History of Gunpowder
The History of the Firearm
The History of the Gun
The History of the Cannon

Gunpowder was first used by the Chinese as a military weapon in the late Tang Dynasty around the 9th-10th century. These were supposedly bamboo tubes filled with gun powder that fire spears at people. The fire lance appeared later and was basically a tube of gunpowder attached to the end of a spear with a burning match. At first, it was just a flamethrower for shock tactics but later as the quality of gunpowder improved they fired shrapnel like a shotgun.

After the fire lance, the cannon as a piece of artillery appear around the 12th-13th century and was likely derived from the fire lance. The hand cannon appeared in the 13th century and they were the first firearms. These were shotguns that were attached to the end of a long pole that you either mounted on a stick or held with the pole under your armpit. They were different from fire lances in that the shotgun flamethrower was now an independent weapon as opposed to a coaxially mounted auxiliary weapon meant to compliment the spear.

In the 14th century, the arquebus appeared and they were (to my understanding) the first real long guns that you could fire volleys from over long distances in a fashion vaguely similar to early modern warfare. The musket appeared in the Ottoman empire in the late 15th century. During this time, the smoothbore gun was treated kind of like a loud and obnoxious crossbow and was used alongside the regular medieval weaponry. If I recall correctly, the gunners would use square brick formations alongside pikemen instead of the line formations that would later dominate the battlefield in the 17th century onwards.
Last edited by Ella2 6 on Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Aeyariss
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Founded: May 12, 2010
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Postby New Aeyariss » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:12 am

I would like to point out that the tactics and methods of employment of gunpowder weapons also differed throughout centuries.

Early gunpowder weapons (as hussites called them "hook guns") were too heavy for field employment and were used mostly for defending fortifications. Usually, they fired nails and small balls instead of classical rounds against incoming enemy assaults - as due to their lack of accuracy, they were useless on long range, and thus that range was left for crossbows. Still, a decent firepower combined with capability to easily move it around made it a versatile and effective weapon.

It's late XV century when we get the first classical "aqerbuses", which start to resemble firearms we know. At that time, the mounted, armored horseman is still present on the field of battle, and a firearm is not more efficient than a bow (cavalry oriented eastern european armies preferred bows up to XVIII century due to higher rates of fire - it was the lower costs of training and upkeep that decided of firearms replacing archers). At that time, usually pike was the dominant weapon; muskets were meant to support it.

True dominance of the firearms appears only with Maurice of Nassau and his idea of battalions. Throughout second half of XVIII century, pikes slowly disappear, as new innovations (faster loading muskets, introduction of bayonets) makes pikes unnecessary, and this is the moment that the firearm dominance truly begins.

If you want a "medieval region" I think that you should use year 1530 as the marginal date technology wise, at least in European terms - in short, Italian Wars tech. True, while musketeers are present on the field of battle, so are heavily armored knights (though no longer as lethal as in the old days, they can still be extremely effective if used as combined arms force with infantry and musketeers). Infantry at that time, while using gundpowder weapons, is still dominated by pike formations, which are product of late medieval military reforms - and some countries, like England still retain armies organized in medieval manner (and such armies actually triumphed much more modern force during battle of Flodden in 1513!). The culture of chivalry had not yet died out, and won't for quite a while.

In most of the east, warfare is still practiced in the old mongol manner, though the introduction of gunpowder slowly starts to change it - nevertheless, highly mobile cavalry is still the dominant arm.

That's my answer to this question. If you want to read more about the period, here is a link.
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