1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Hello from Jan Conradie

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Jan Conradie, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

    30
    13
    8
    Hi everyone
    I ended up here by googling what I thought was a common question, and this was the only correct source quoted for that question. I posted THIS post in the relevant discussion and would be very glad if someone could reply either there or here:
    "
    Hi
    Can't believe my google search sent me HERE as the top source for my question. How can it be that it has not been asked more intensively?
    What's more is that I happen to be writing a mythical fantasy.
    Here is the scenario: A time-traveller went to the 910 AD to change history by messing up a certain key battle, and afterwards ends up in a shield wall on top of a bit of a slope with 5 real warriors facing a charge by 18 armed Danes in 9/10th century mail. This callous time-traveller (call him TT) is armed with a .38 Special six-shooter revolver and lots of bullets, mostly lead-tipped (not hollow) fortified copper-sheathed slugs. At 100-50 metres the time-traveller takes out some horses and 5 Danes with 12 bullets. One flees, the other 12 dismount, make a shield (wood with iron hilt) wall and charge the smaller group. He re-loads. At 15 metres he has to take out at least 4 of them despite peeing in his pants, shove the revolver and take position in the wall with his Toledo steel blade, for his group to survive. (He should hand his steel blade to a real warrior but doesn't, they don't know what steel is.)
    So I googled can a .38 special revolver (easily) pierce medieval mail and then filtered to lead-tipped ammo.
    Please reward me with some discussion, I ask thee most interestedly, oh fair company? :))"
    Thank you
     
  2. blondie.k

    blondie.k Scribe

    49
    14
    8
    Hello! Sorry, I can't answer that question myself but I hope that someone here can help you out. And great story by the way!
     
  3. CupofJoe and Jan Conradie like this.
  4. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

    30
    13
    8
  5. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    4,049
    1,241
    163
    Hail and well-met Jan Conradie
    Good to have you here.
    Go for the feet...
    Don't shoot at the shield, go for the feet.
    As soon as they stumble or fall over, then TT can go for a kill shot.
     
    Sheilawisz likes this.
  6. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

    1,965
    1,114
    163
    .38 dropping horses is a... real iffy. His shooting skills would have to be legendary, in particular while peeing his pants, fear tends to make one not shoot so well. 38’s are not known as great man-stoppers, hence the 357 and 44 mags were developed. So, putting a bullet into someone doesn’t mean they aren’t going to kill you, and going through armor first isn’t going to help.

    Mail against a 38 is not going to be great, unless a double mail (maybe?), then it might have a shot. If it stops the bullets penetration, then mail disperses the energy of attacks extremely well. And of course, the big question is what do they have beneath the mail? Absorbing energy is key. But all and all it is an unlikely realistic situation but suitable to something heroic where the reader doesn’t call BS.

    And oh yes, those ranges with a revolver with that kill ratio? Ummm... legendary might not suffice.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  7. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

    30
    13
    8
    Hi Demesnedenior
    Well actually, I don't consider them dead, only "down" to be finished off by the warriors if necessary; I should post a photo of the relevant ammo, the lead-tips are supposed to cause harm while the hard fortified three quarters of the bullet is supposed to propel them through ancient mail. I consider the wooden Danish shields irrelevant? At best they'd wear leather below the mail or even only mail strips in a leather top? If TT's lucky they could be bare-chested. Iron mail is a worst case scenario when fighting 10th century Danes. They only get mail by killing someone for it.

    However I am very interested in something you mentioned which nobody else has as yet: Does the shooter have the ability to "down" that many Danes? Let me expand because your comments would be valuable if you have some time:
    At 100m the 18 mounted Danes converge to discuss assaulting the rocky hill with a 3-foot sheep-wall at the top. At that point the TT is lying down to keep the arm steady, take careful aim and empties the 6-shooter on them. It sounds like Thor is attacking this 10th century posse with thunder?
    Result: 2 horses and 1 warrior down (5 shots missed but 2 hit the huge animals instead). One who fears Thor as well as the well-known hero standing behind the TT, flees. "There's always one." The rest begin to dismount at 75 m to form their shield-wall to take that difficult but not too high slope.
    As they dismount, the TT has reloaded (I timed it with a real .38) and continues shooting with his arm still resting. Result: 3 warriors down and 1 horse (because he missed a warrior and wasted 2 shots completely). They proceed warily despite the loudest bangs they've ever heard.

    TT reloads again and joins the Saxon-Welsh shield-wall behind the sheep-wall. ;) He lays down his Toledo Steel sword on the wall in front of him, hilt to his right-hand to grab quickly. He turns sideways, takes aim and waits till the nearest Dane is 15m, then shoots 5 shots. (The sixth is for the possibility of suicide, an ordinary 21st century man cant risk capture by 10th century Danes, we're not resilient enough.) Result: 4 warriors "down". Now the Saxons with him, all legends, take over but he hopefully lands one stab which should pierce anything the 10th century has to offer. Which means the legends including the greatest warrior of Mercia have to stop 8 scared Danes rushing up a hill over a sheep-wall. I can upgrade ammo and add Saxons?

    But now if people tell me those shooting feats are extremely improbable then I would have to consider the option offered by yonder fair Queen above, namely that the gun would cause even Danes to freak out and run instead of assaulting the rocky little hill (more of a rocky outcrop really, when I inspect the site on Google Satellite Maps).
    Shooting at the feet? I doubt this TT can see the feet. My hope is he can hit some very bulky Danes somewhere in the torso hard enough to take them down for killing later? Does he have shooting training? Yes, lots. Hits the bulls-eye half the time at 30 m. Is he an olympic shot? Nope. Is he motivated? Yes, he is intentionally rewriting history after losing his family to an evil world in 2019. Is he scared? I think so. Seems everybody is scared before battle.

    But this is why I entered this mythical misty hall here, to hear your input? I have never shot at Danes and "one should not write about things unknown."
    Cheers
    J.
     
  8. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

    1,965
    1,114
    163
    Here’s a story for you... 38 special meets big pig. An old sow and her brood escaped from a farmer and are simply destroying a piece of property and the farmer said, I can’t get to them, go ahead and shoot them. So... a man takes his trusty 38 out there, first tries to catch pigs and herd them with no luck, then gets close enough to the sow that she’s staring him down. Point blank, at the skull... ricochet and the pig runs off totally healthy, and it wasn’t until the farmer showed up later with high powered rifles that the pigs were stopped in their destruction.

    Now, a pig’s skull is pretty sturdy... but 38’s are a bit notorious. A wooden shield wouldn’t do much on a square hit, but a person might be surprised how much deflection you can get. Much depends on the round, but the pig took a FMJ shot. It was like... daaaamn.

    That said, I can see hitting them to some degree, in particular if TT gets the first shots off before they’re really moving. Fear of the 38’s report? This is so difficult to judge, it’s pure speculation. At say, 100m, the sound of a 38 (if you don’t know what it is) probably isn’t going to do much Unless your buddy’s head just went splat. That get’s a person’s attention. God only knows how they might react. Now, custom loads on the 38? I mean, it all gets crazy. The bullet itself can be shaped differently for long range. If you want “reality” without being strictly real, just play your fudge ground as well as you can. Make sure it isn’t a snub-nosed, give it a longer barrel, stuff like that. Give your guy a hunting scene to set it up... maybe hunting with a 44 Mag with a scope... and the sound of a 44 Mag would be more intimidating. BUT, readers are used to heroes making crazy shots too, which means you can work around the fudge zone of plausibility.

    And the horse at range, it’d be pretty lucky to get one to go down with one shot. The obvious target is the chest when coming at you, and that is a lot muscle up there for a 38.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  9. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

    1,965
    1,114
    163
    Oh! With horses... they’d likely be more sensitive to sound, and if TT can hit one in the rump area pre-charge... this could easily cause a bit of havoc to throw the charge off, get a rider thrown even. Horses really don’t like gunfire, and even a trained warhorse who’d never heard such a thing might react more than the riders at range. That’s another fudge zone you can mess around with.
     
    Jan Conradie likes this.
  10. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

    30
    13
    8
    Greetings Auror!
    Thanks for all that detail, Demesnedenoir. By the way, yes it is an older long-barrel type .38 special. A family heirloom, given that he starts off from a location with strict gun-control and can't really buy limitless.
    In all honesty I think a normal man from 2019 could be scared stiff at that point, maybe too frozen to do anything but die. This one had to face an assassin too when he exited the wormhole portal because if he could time-travel, so could those who want to protect the status quo of history. I count on the assassin not expecting him to have his hand on the .38 under his coat as he stumbles out, projectile-vomiting from time-lag. I also considered that the assassin would not know the exact time and date, had to wait very long at the portal, was surprised etc. Another story, another day.
    I wish I could talk to some ordinary people who landed in a skirmish with a revolver, even if they're used to the weapon. I hear of a lot of men and women who take down knife-wielders in their homes though, protecting the family. I'd love to hear the thoughts of one of those. I don't necessarily consider them heroes, I just want to pick their brains because who knows what happens in that extreme situation?
    As for pigs, I have heard from several people that they are abnormally robust, even in the head. Pig-headed...
    Adieu,
    J.
     
  11. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

    1,965
    1,114
    163
    I do know a guy who shot and killed a stoned intruder breaking down his door, but never talked to him about it. But the reaction is going to be so different from person to person, you can work it a multitude of ways. I also know a cop who was attacked by a drunk, and that was the night he stopped carrying a semi-auto, as he pressed it against the guy and pulled the trigger to a “click”, which is an issue revolvers don’t have. I know he was totally freaked out by the whole thing.
     
  12. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

    30
    13
    8
    WHAT, Auror Demesnedenoir, are you serious?:eek: Good grief that must have rocked the cop to the core!
    I'm scared to click on your website because everyone here seems to be a best-selling novelist, I am just a nobody CPA with several unpublished books.:notworthy:
    Good thing then I settled on using the only gun I know, namely an old long-barrel .38 special. It has no way of stalling and even I can hit a target.
    That psychological thing is huge, even among trained fighters like police officers. I recently read about the two Victorian Cross survivors of the Battle of Rorke's Drift which was a nightmare-experience. I doubt The Walking Dead even described an experience THAT scary. Both of them committed suicide within 15 years after. Could not stand the dreams anymore. Both were brave, seasoned soldiers unlike my protagonist. He goes mad for a while within a week after first facing the assassin, then three pitch-fork wielding xenophobes and then two farmers mistaking him for the rapist-robber pretending to be a priest who also wanders around north of the River Frome. Then the needy widow saves his mind and restores him on his path to change history. ;)
    King Edward the Elder will be toast. :D
    Cheers and thanks,
    "Godspeller Jan"
     
  13. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    5,557
    3,550
    313
    About the effect of sound, battles can be pretty noisy. Is there a muzzle flash from this gun? Because if there isn't, the Danes might take a while before they figure out it's the guy with the boomstick who is hurting them, which means they'd just keep right on charging.

    But I have to ask, what is it you *want* to have happen? Leave realism aside for a moment. Do you want your hero to panic and run? Mow them down like they were red shirts? Merely establish among his comrades that he has a magical weapon? That might help you establish some parameters on how the battle develops.
     
  14. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

    30
    13
    8
    Thanks for the good advice, skip.knox.
    He wants to protect the Aetheling who is among the group with him (Athelstan is the boy holding their horses). The Danes realized this group escaped the main battle and were sent to track and destroy them. The protagonist, who seemed unimportant to them until now, could flee on his own but Wales is a very dangerous place for a lone priest and, as explained elsewhere, if the Aetheling dies, his attempt to change history could be nullified. He risks the fight because his life is not that precious to him, he has already fulfilled his main quest: Edward the Elder is defeated.
    I want the skirmish to be a close affair, hopeless at first but in the end a reinvigorating victory for this party of refugees, who thereafter respect the protagonist though they mistrust him like all mysterious people. So now they would see value in him accompanying them South, which is where he wants to travel using the cover of this formidable group. When eventually he leaves them to return to either the portal or the widow (his heart is still fighting his mind over these two options), he knows he can also leave the Aetheling in their safe hands.
    What I am testing on this forum is whether the logic of the story (and especially the use of weapons) seems acceptable enough to independent readers. If I find the logic in someone else's story too unconvincing, I put the book down.
    Note that the story in my portfolio on this forum is an old one, not this one which is still under construction. That is why I am picking the brains of esteemed members.:D
    Cheers
    J.
     
  15. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    5,557
    3,550
    313
    So, one way to get to your goal would be to have the protagonist not kill a bunch of people but to kill one key person. A chieftain, or the berserker, or some such. He might shoot the fellow just as he was about to kill our own leader. Or maybe he shoots and kills at point-blank range, as the chieftain is charging straight for our hero. You could even have hero fire and miss at a few, fire with only a wound on a few. So he's doing his best and his best isn't good enough, until that last moment. Or just one skill shot early, pow! It'd save on bullets. <g>

    Given what you've said, though, I'm not seeing the need to bring down a bunch of the enemy. And don't forget to have his comrades get in a few kills on their own. They shouldn't be passive observers of the man with the boomstick.

    For me as a reader, it's not really about the logic of the moment, it's about my emotional involvement in that moment. If you have put me at the hero's side, and keep me there for the scene, I won't fret too much. After all, I bought time travel, didn't I?
     
    Sheilawisz likes this.
  16. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

    30
    13
    8
    Hi
    In the small 10th century shieldwall battles I've read, they fight to the end. Maybe Bernard Cornwell is wrong about that, but I wouldn't bet on it. I've not found a better source yet on how they fought. In this scene as explained, Godspeller Jan only improves the odds by gunfire until the shieldwalls meet, from there on the real warriors around him DO take over to win the skirmish. Part of the entertainment of the story is to intentionally let the skirmish continue in order to get the gore of a detailed shieldwall-fight.
    In the discussion above we did consider the option that the gun causes the Danes to flee after the first few shots, it is an option but a less entertaining option? The writer must choose whether the skirmish continues or not. However, if the Danes only realize what is happening at 15 metres when they see for the first time the final salvo coming from this man and realize it is a lethal weapon, my sources indicate they won't run because it is suicide to break the shieldwall that close to the enemy. That's been discussed elsewhere on this forum. Again, Bernard Cornwell may be wrong about that too, but his descriptions are very convincing. Turning to run becomes suicide at a certain point.
    As for avoiding bloodshed, that was originally the protagonist's plan and the gun was only there to survive the quest. The main battle (comprising about 5000 warriors according to historians) was already turned by the protagonist without shooting anymore, just a forest-fire to delay King Edward. The Wale-Mercian army would surrender without his support and he would be crushed when the Danes turn on him next. Every instance where the gun is used in the story is about survival, not about the main quest which was to change a historic battle by starting a forest-fire. It is enjoyable to write how the increasing bloodshed of surviving haunts the main character until he hardens. I can recommend John Christopher's "Death of Grass" for the ultimate description of the same thing. HIS character eventually shoots his brother to survive, and loses his lover due to becoming calloused by survival.

    Elsewhere on this forum someone suggested using an AK-47 and just delightfully blasting everyone to kingdom come! But the writer should choose, there is more story to tell this way, just as there is more story to tell if the skirmish in question actually takes place, rather than the Danes fleeing after a chieftain gets shot. Yes, it is an option. No, I've decided instead to have at least one complete shieldwall-encounter in the story. As was apparently the custom, one or two of the losing side DO escape and flee because the victors want the story to be told. That way they won't have to face more groups of Danes hunting them later on, people would be too scared. "Leave that group of refugees alone, they have a lethal thunder-stick and some vicious warriors".

    I hope this makes it understandable but, by Jove, I shall have this one gory shieldwall skirmish in the book! Blood, gore and gut-spilling swordfighting! :cool:The poets shall sing in the beer-halls of how my group of five or six annihilated the party of 18 who was hunting them, and how Thor's thunder made it possible! :barefoot: My original concern was about the protagonist's ability to improve the odds with a gun against fierce warriors, but the authors here like Malik have convinced me that the .38 revolver CAN do it if I want it to. That was the point of the discussion, I want the gun to do this IF it can. I want the protagonist increasingly racked by guilt. Besides, the probability of this quest going smoothly in messy 910AD is very remote. It was a bloody era, the Saxon Chronicles prove.
    Cheers
    J.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  17. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    5,557
    3,550
    313
    Wow. How many small-scale shieldwall battles do we have documented?

    Was the shieldwall employed as an offensive maneuver? I've only pictured them as defensive. Then again, I'm late medieval and over on the Continent. And not a military historian either, so that's three strikes right there. I think I get twenty-seven, though.

    I can think of one example of the shield wall not holding till the end. Some minor engagement in the summer of 1066. <g>
     
  18. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

    30
    13
    8
    I doubt that "minor engagement in the summer of 1066" would qualify as a "small shield-wall skirmish" that had to be fought to the end? (Though 4000 Saxons died and 'the soldiers of the royal household fought to the end.") Why then use Hastings to throw shade on my statement about small shield-wall skirmishes, did I commit some kind of offense to deserve that kind of reply? Whatever my offense was, I am so sorry.

    Similarly my protagonist IS in a defensive position as described, the attackers only form their shieldwall in the last few yards of the charge to meet his defensive shieldwall, so why make it sound as if I am suggesting the shieldwall format for this skirmish was chosen for offense? Etc etc in the discussion above, I must have done something evil to deserve this from a Moderator, as opposed to discussing what I actually DID write. Whatever evil I did to deserve these repeated misquotes, I am so sorry.

    I am prepared to leave if I have been a bad boy here, blemishing this lofty forum with evil suggestions that 4000-man shieldwalls fought to the end, the format of my skirmish was chosen by the attackers, my protagonist was unnecessarily using a gun to defend himself in 10th century Britain etc etc. Ten lashes for Godspeller Jan, what an awful member I am. I deserve that what I actually DID write, not be looked at attentively. So sorry indeed.

    I would not dare continue this particular conversation in trepidation of next time receiving a punishment of 20 intentional misquotes, or 20 lashes, for that major sin of mine.:eek:
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
    Reaver likes this.
  19. Jan Conradie

    Jan Conradie Scribe

    30
    13
    8
    Postscript: Before I leave and sleek off dejectedly, a note: If there are discerning readers here who are now worried about this, here are such small shieldwall skirmishes by Bernard Cornwell who can analyze the 2 surviving historic sources (Saxon Chronicles and Bishop Asser) whereas I cannot. Attackers meet the defender’s format in kind, or die fast:
    Warrior Chronicles (The Last Kingdom) p. 192, Warrior Chronicles (The Pale Horseman) p. 364 (this one actually has a small shieldwall-turned-aggressor), etc. There are many like this, and I knew some of them by heart before venturing to fantasizing one myself.
     
  20. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

    2,893
    1,380
    163
    Jan ConradieJan Conradie I believe that there is a misunderstanding here. Knowing skip.knoxskip.knox well, I am positive that he is not being hostile or condescending. In fact, he is being friendly. The <g> at the end of his post stands for "grin," and is intended to indicated that. Because you don't know him well, and vocal tone and body language are missing from the text, it's easy to misinterpret his intentions. I am certain that this is a misunderstanding.
     
    Reaver, Sheilawisz and Jan Conradie like this.
Loading...

Share This Page