Myths of the Samurai Sword v.s. the M1 rifle in WWII?

Discussion in 'Weapons' started by slipthejab, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. Anomandaris

    Anomandaris New Member

    heres something to think about.

    if the katana could cut through metal in the way people seem to be saying on message boards across the web then why did the japanese wear armour?

    if their swords cut through steel and iron why woud anyone wear a full suit of armour that limits their movement(which it must do putting on a suit of armour adds weight if nothing else).

    furthermore I dont doubt that weapons could readily cut through helmets, just look at history, the well crafted and tried and proven Roman helmets were defeated by weapons crafted by people with skill in metal but nothing approaching the Romans, the Dacian Falx(and according to some records the remnants of the Thracians who still used the Rhomphia) were able to cut through the helmet and kill the soldier, the romans hads to add in reiforcing bars to try and stop them and even these had only limited affect.

    remember thes epeople were moving and fighting and still had their helmets cut through by inferior metal technology.

    heres a point about how effective armour could be and this how difficult it would be to cut through a rifle, check European fighting methods, as soon as fully articulated gothic plate armour(which I have seen worn and used by the ARMA) came about fighitng methods changed, swords narrowed and became highly tapered at the ends, half swording became common place and targets for the blade shifted to attack joints and gaps, if metal could be cut through by high quality weaponry such as this the why were techniques like this devised? for kicks? No because it was almost immpossible to defeat Full Plate without these techniques.

    what does this prove?

    well not much as I have no hard evidence on me just what I have read and thought of myself after looking at things, but if fighitng techniques had to adapt to armour then surely the armour must have caused problems for swords, so why would a metal rifle barrel be cut through if a sheet of that is thinner cant be?
  2. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Thanks for the interesting post. Always love it when someone contributes to a thread topic and references historical examples.
  3. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    You're repeating something which we've already come to a conclusion on... And an OBVIOUS one at that. Japanese Swords don't cleave rifles in two however, it's established that a well made Shinken will defeat an iron helmet under certain circumstances
    2nd time in this post I'll say this... Japanese Swords don't cleave rifles in two thus; Armour was worn for the obvious reasons
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2005
  4. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    deep breathes
    deep breathes

    focus on the lotus
    focus on the lotus


    It never hurts to have these points illustrated over and over... besides it's the nature of the way people read threads anyhow.. many times people just pop in at the end replying to the original question posted.

    I don't think having an abundance of such answers is a bad thing... not given pervasiveness of the myths like this one regarding a Japanese sword cutting an M-1 in two. :D
  5. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    "Ohmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Ohmmmmmmmmmmmm Ohmmmmmmmmmm"

    "nom yo ho renge kyo" (repeats several million times)

    I'm calm LOL
  6. Kagebushi

    Kagebushi New Member

    on bamboo, i dont care what guns are made of, its not what i was discussing. i said that an axe cant cut that particualr piece of bamboo in one stroke and a nihontou can.
    on the oak, youre right, if you take 3 strikes to cut it, it probably will bend, but if it were to cleave through on the first strike, then that wouldnt be a problem. the Shirokumo, one of Masamune's most famous swords cut through 2 torsos in one strike.. in sure that adds up to that sapling. whether it does or not i'll be looking for the pic that im getting the whole sapling claim from.
  7. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Valued Member


    Bike as in Suzuki GSX750R tangling with a drunk driver in an Audi Quattro at 90 mph :(.

    Just goes to show how tough (and lucky) people can be tho' - the 'only injury I suffered was the point of contact, which reduced my right forearm bones to splinters. The bike died :cries:. The car driver left me in the road for dead :grr:.

    The end result is that I have titanium plates joining the stubs of my wrist bones to the stubs down from my elbow. What this means is that I can't do blocks with that arm and the jolt caused by striking with it causes it to swell up quite comically. That pretty much flushed my twelve years of kung fu down the drain but did lead me, eventually, to learning the art of the sword :).

    On that subject (phew, made an on-topic comment :eek:), I find that tameshagiri is startlingly easy, showing that, with proper technique, a shinken can make very short work of a target that is supposed to mimic the resistance given by a human neck.

    The points raised above about armour and it's effectiveness vs swords are similar to what I was going to make myself but I, in all honesty, thought that it would be stating the obvious and so held my piece. That'll teach me to assume that because I'm posting on a martial arts forum, people will be familiar with certain martial truisms (no offence meant to Anomandaris by the way) :blush:.

    I think we've pretty much covered the truth of the fact that it's a myth about katana's cleaving gun barrels but, has the original posters question been answered? That is, how did these myths come about, what stories arose that gave it credence etc? On that score I have no input I'm sad to say.
  8. blackpuma

    blackpuma New Member

    :confused: So? What's so "wow" about that... other than the katana's not such a hot cutter compared to cutting longswords? Cutting tissue and live bone doesn't take as much effort as is popularly believed.

    How much cutting of organic tissue have you done with swords? Let's back off... how much cutting have you done at all with swords?

    Sorry, but this is just ridiculous. :bang: Japanese swords are not magic. They obey the same laws of physics as other weapons. The edge geometry doesn't lend itself as well to cleaving as cutting longswords. They don't cut through rifles, reinforced concrete pillars, or brick walls.

    Get some training, then go out and try cutting stuff yourself.
  9. blackpuma

    blackpuma New Member

    So can a longsword.

    An axe wasn't designed for that kind of cutting.

    What they whole point to this?
  10. blackpuma

    blackpuma New Member

    I would never use the word "readily." Try to cut through a helmet. (I have.) It's tough. Freaking tough. So tough to do that I'm surprised that it's possible, quite frankly.

    It is true that there are some pictures in the Mediaeval manuscripts that show helmets being split. However, it's in artwork. I'm not sure off the top of my head how many cloven helmets have come out of the ground, but it's not a large number. Also, the fighting manuals from the time period contradict the idea that armour is readily defeated.

    The armed fighting is cleanly divided between bloessfechten and harnischfechten (unarmoured and armoured fighting). One can readily cut the unarmoured man, but one must switch to a half-swording to defeat an armoured man.

    If you don't have armour on yourself, going up against an armoured opponent is a very dangerous situation. (I have the "I was a bloody idiot" scars to prove it.) Don't try it. You will get hurt.

    While yes, it's possible, people wore helmets because they did save lives.

    Now... being hit with a sword with a helmet on... that will ring your bell really good. That gives your opponent a split second to kill you or get into a killing position. I have a friend that had his nose broken while in full armour because a strap worked itself loose. I myself have taken quite a few head shots from blade, cross, and pommel... and a good number of those did the trick. It "loosened me up" and I was taken out.
  11. Kagebushi

    Kagebushi New Member

    please read some. right at the begining of that post i said that i wanst discussing the gun. i was discussing whether a nihontou can cut through a 2 inch sapling or piece of bamboo.
    the point was that someone said an axe can cut more effeciently than a Japanese sword, and i disagreed.
    i practice cut regularly, but i dont take the risk of cutting trees in my training. anyway what the hell does this have to do with longswords? of course they can cut as well, they had access to the same technology and better steel.
    please dont assume any post in support of a Japanese sword is an open attack on european weapons or that the person does not know that a nihontou has limits.
  12. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    Bad luck about the bike injury but if its what it sounds like its onlyone arm right?
    Well when I was doing aikido I could most of the techniques with only one hand. Aikido is one of those arts that can be made to suit your spefic needs, then again I guess that might be said of most arts. And I know a few Aikidoka who ride Motorcycles, some in fact used Aikido to save their life while riding. I guess its handy to know how to roll when you spill going 60mph.

    Just because most of the martial artists that actually know what they are doing know that swords dont cut armor doesnt mean "Samurai Jack"off of the street who just got a shiney new stainless "samurai katana sword" will.

    Note I love the cartoon Samurai Jackin allof its leet goodness I was just using that name for humor.
  13. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    That's how it goes when people talk past eachother. I was kind of On topic, talking about oak and other kinds of hard wood, as I fealt that people speculated in the possebility to cut through the stock of a rifle. Since stocks of rifles seldom are made of bamboo, and since I believed that you allso were on topic, I fealt that it was irellevant of you to use bamboocutting as an argument.
  14. Kagebushi

    Kagebushi New Member

    well it was irrelevant to the gun-cutting, i was just talking about the point somone made that an axe cuts better than a sword.
  15. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Beeing aware that we're about to move in circles, I want to restate my part of this little misunderstanding by saying that I think that an axe cuts wood (as in riflestocks) better than swords. I am painfully aware of this fact as I nearly broke my own longsword while experiencing this fact :bang:
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2005
  16. Kagebushi

    Kagebushi New Member

    ech. until we actually have someone do both enough to be sure(not likely, for reasons we've both stated) nothings gonna go anywhere. pretty much what you just said.
  17. Anomandaris

    Anomandaris New Member

    good points.

    but in my post my example was the Romans and the Dacian Falx(and perhaps the Thracian Rhomphia) Roman records have been found saying that an official change was to be made to Roman standard armour(which was almost NEVER changed ever once they began using the Lorica Segmenta and its other accoutrements). A reinforcing cross was to be attatched to the crown of every Roman helmet for all troops taking part in the Dacian Campaigns, there must gave been a reason for this as the Romans hated changing things and would only do so in extreme cases.

    furhtermore excavation in lands thought to be part of ancient Dacia have unearthed hundreds of Roman helmets as well as other equipment which has led people to believe it was a site of major battle. At least three quaters of the helmets had been destroyed by a blow to the crown or the forehead, be they cuts all the way through, just a point where the hooked tip pierced or such major disfigurement the person would have suffered brain trauma. Several of the helmets were found with the remnants of the weapons used to cut them still lodged deep inside and these were the Falx.

    so my statement came from looking at that part on Roman helmets and the damage dealt to them, I have as of yet not had a chance to see antying on medieval helmets so I can hardly say anything about that can I?!
  18. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    The Falx is not the same as a Romphaia(reverse-bending swords wielded twohanded), is it? I would imagine that if any sworddesign in the Roman Iron age were to manage to cleave through a helmet, it would have to be a Falchatta, and if that is what you mean with a Falx, then I must say that I have lesser of a hard time of believing that this kind of axe-like sword could have been able to survive and to defeat a Roman helmet. (I have attached a pic of a Falchatta)

    Attached Files:

  19. Anomandaris

    Anomandaris New Member

    dunno what that is actually. It looks quite like a kukri knife.

    a falcata was what the roman gladius was based upon so they are similar in look and usage and its nothing like that.

    a falx looks like this:-


    I have yet to find a picture of a rhomphia, rest assured when I do I'll post one up.
  20. Kagebushi

    Kagebushi New Member

    both great looking swords, but on the falx, do you see i the corner, where it has the name of the game its from?

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