Is it just me... ("primitive" vs modern)

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by AxesAreBetter, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    When my oldest was four and the little one was one, I started teaching them about tinder and preparing a tinder bundle. This was well ahead of teaching them to make a fire. Sometimes after soccer, they will go through the field and build a big tinder nest. Good practice. And fun for them too. When they were able to start a fire, I also taught them that a fire was like a baby. You always have to pay attention to it and care for it. Or it will die. And you have to pay attention to it, to be safe with a fire. Like the boy scouts always having a bucket of water handy before making a fire.

    My little monkey, in particular, is into camp fires. Once she makes one, I have watched her tend to it all day.

    So I think you are on point, @AxesAreBetter.
  2. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    It's a nice line....but it is a Hollywood line none the less.

    There were many contributing causes to the defeat of the British at Isandlwana, one of which was the ready availability of ammunition where it was most needed: In the ammo pouches and rifles of the soldiery under attack. British soldiers didn't need to know how to make an assegai to use when the ammo ran out....they had a rifle attached bayonet for that kind of hand to hand combat.

    There were adequate supplies of ammunition available within the column, only that it was, apart from the soldiers' ready use ammo in the soldiers' ammo pouches, mostly boxed and away from the battle line, under the control of regimental and company quartermaster sergeants. The problem was not that there wasn't sufficient ammunition at Isandlwana , just that its distribution wasn't keeping up with demand towards the end of the battle when the British were surrounded away from any possible resupply. In the end, it was down to bayonets vs assegais, arguably weapons of roughly comparable hand to hand fighting effectiveness in skilled hands......just that there were more assegai wielders than bayonet wielders. (20K Zulus vs 1.7K Brits and colonials). The Zulus did have throwing spears, but most of the close-in hand to hand "wet work" was done with thrusting spears (assegais) and clubs.

    Battle of Isandlwana 09/Keating.pdf

    There are good tactical lessons to be learned from both Isandlwana and the later Rorke's Drift Battles....I know, having taught them to Officer Cadets in successive courses at an Australian equivalent of an American ROTC unit. Rorke's Drift gets all the attention and glory....whereas Isandlwana generally attracts neither....other than as the bad example of what not to do.

    Be wary of Hollywood re-enactments.....they make for good entertainment, but can also incorporate common myths (for the sake of theatrical drama), and introduce stuff that is totally invented.

    Having said that @Minuteman....Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift are both fascinating events in military history with useful tactical lessons to be learned from by soldier and prepper alike. Thank you for introducing it to the conversation.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
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  3. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++

    The film 'Zulu' (1964, Stanley Baker) is actually very accurate in its portrayal of events at Rorke's Drift.
    It did deviate a bit concerning Private Hook being a lay-about and schemer for a bit of Hollywood color but for the rest, especially the military side of it - was accurate. I love Nigel Green portrayal of Color Sergeant Bourne...

    All, I believe it was produced by Stanley Baker and he took great care to get it is indeed one of the few military films that is accurate but once you see it you understand it truly needed no Hollywood color. It truly is excellent and if you have not seen it then you are in for a treat.

    From my own study and opinion of Isandlwana there was numerous mistakes most caused by the arrogance of the British commanders but ammunition distribution was by far the worse, followed by splitting of the column and especially its tactical deployment (no entrenchments, defensives). What people don't realize is that the battle wasn't as one sided as most think as the Zulu losses were so severe that their King did not want any more battles after that...I think he even tried to make peace but the British, with damage pride, wouldn't hear of it and they were finally brought to a conclusive battle, at the battle of Ulundi...and that was that.

    Really interesting stuff! If only one could make a living doing it but the jobs for military historians number about as many as Park Rangers and pay...nothing.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
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  4. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Great line, that, even if it is pure Hollywood, and very true. A person can run out of ammo at the most embarrassing times. A man never runs out of spear, or sword, if he's still breathing. A lot of well-armed expeditions went into the Amazon jungle and never came out because poison darts trump rifles when you can't see the little buggers with the blowpipes.

    Escape and Evasion. If a person can survive in the bush in the first place, the next step is to do it when the bad guys are hard on the hunt.

    Things like masking tracks, building smokeless and traceless fires, shelter building with natural camouflage, etc.

    From a non-combat perspective, the person who can build a smokeless fire probably won't have to hike very far to find unspooked game. So there are carry-overs.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2016
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  5. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Facing 11-12:1 odds; just what good would have picking up "thrusting spears (assegais) and clubs" have done? As I really enjoy (some ;)) of your posts; I mean no offense to you is intended whatsoever.
    However, in a classroom it all sounds good; in reality, it would accomplish very little. Although no one discusses it; soldiers accept in the "game" of war soldiers get killed. Civilians keep finding answers when there is no answer to being outnumbered, out of ammunition, and overrun.

    The battle of Ia Drang (movie: We were soldiers) shows one way how odds can be overcome. Artillery and tactical air laying it on the enemy. Once the Def cons are established, the steel rain can continue all night by adjusting the artillery from known locations. Being resupplied by Huey jocks who clank when they walk was a major factor.

    BTW: Was it an Assegai or the shorter Shaka with a 2' shaft and 1 foot wide steel blade that was used by the Zulu in close combat?
  6. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    I think all of the above. In those types of settings, it is a matter of what the warrior chooses to kill with.

    My understanding is that several things occurred during that fight.
    1. The British started firing at long range (600+ yards). Most people today would think nothing of that, but with a single shot BLACKPOWDER, all you are doing is filling up your field of view with smoke (which made it impossible to hit them after the Zulu had closed into accurate firing range), and you are filling the gun with the time most of the Zulu would be in range, most of the rifle would need to be cleaned, because they would be so full of crap, you would probably be unable to force ammo into the chamber, much less fire it.

    2. Everyone has this strange idea that picking up a club makes you a match for the guy who has fought and killed game with clubs for his entire life. The Brits would have been trained in the bayonet, and should have fallen back on that...but a rifle and bayonet are not a spear and shield in melee. In desperation, I'm sure some did drop their rifles and grab something else, but it would be a move of panic, not a tactical decision.

    3. Also, it turns out that the Zulu were high as clouds...turns out that the have a "war herb" that they smoke, which has been tested, and is a variety of marijuana that has no THC (the calming stuff...) in it. I want to make some social commentary here, but I think y'all can handle that.

    And it was actually the Zulu army that went on the war path. The King actually told them not to attack the British under any circumstances, which is why the army that attacked Rourke's Drift was undermanned, as those Zulu were Zu.u who had broken off from the main party at Islandwana.

    It is actually extremely interesting how I have never heard any evidence for them using ranged units (Zulu). I study Scottish HEMA, and do Scottish Immigrant living history for the 1700-1760 period, and I understand the theory behind the Highland Charge, but even those laddy's brought ranged units.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2016
  7. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

  8. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    I've seen videos of the Zulu fighting style. It's a formal martial art, and not the slightest bit random or accidental.

    The young men underwent two full years of war training, and the Zulu version of boot camp was not for sissies.

    At close quarters the Shaka would have been the thrusting weapon of choice. More so that the club, which was mostly used for taking captives.

    Combined with a shield, which would be used to deflect the enemy's thrusting weapon, the Shaka was a terrifying and effective weapon. A British soldier equipped with only an empty rifle and bayonet would have been cut down in an instant.

    The Zulu were so well trained that they easily defeated other tribes that also fought with spear and shield. Like the Romans, they moved in close, where their Shaka had the short-range advantage.

    An opponent without a shield would be easy meat,
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  9. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    No arguments. Shaka himself instituted a policy of making the men run for miles through thorns, barefoot, to toughen them up.
  10. BlueDuck

    BlueDuck Monkey+

    As I read this thread I keep coming back to the Chicken or the Egg and which one came first. The cave man had a rock, a stick and maybe a bone. To him modern was when he lashed the rock to the stick. I am guessing it all evolved from that. Modern is just a more efficient method to through that rock. You can take that all to bullets and bombs or as far as your imagination can go. Just a new and improved rock.
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  11. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+++

    How I look at it is the more knowledge you have the better off you are with less if you look at survival books we will say the Bolas the books are wrong they teach you how to make one and they say how to throw one and that's where they are wrong the show you holding it by the middle and swing it around your head then throwing it it will sail nice and fast and may wrap something up

    The right way is hold the middle and gather one of the weights up in the same hand swing around your head about twice and throw the weight that you held back comes tight and opens the others up spreading them out and then it will catch and wrap around your target a lot of what you read won't work if you practice it make you better at the skills throw out the trash I would have like to spend a year with ishia or the alps man learning how to today I don't need I have fire and blade in my pocket and knowledge in my head yes it's easy with modern technology but unless you carry your Bob ever where you go or stays at home thinking the bombs going to hit then and the guns and ammo is stacked and ready to go your saying you don't go on vacation or travel over seas or other states the primitive helps you with the modern technology I carry a slingshot every day made out of hdpe and marbles why under rated as a weapon I am good with it it will kill a person If need to most look at it as a toy and it's quit so where you can't take a gun I can take a weapon that hits hard.
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  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Knowledge weighs nothing.
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  13. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    IMO, a blend of primitive and modern would be best.

    Two examples and there are a lot more than two.
    Bows are silent so depending on where one lives, a bow has an advantage over a noisy attention gathering rifle. Plus, the "bullet" can be used again without reloading.
    If the smell of cooking attracts two legged armed "predators;" with its high capacity magazine. a force equalizer would have an advantage.

    In short, I cannot nay say either side of the modern vs. primitive debate as I believe in both.
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  14. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    I pack my fighting rifle with my bow. YMMV. Haha.
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  15. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey++ Site Supporter+++

    Personally I tend to go old school with modern tech as supplement. Very simple reason the old ways are simple, dependable and independent. GPS is great but depends on batteries and a satelite. Guns are great but depend on powder, casings, and bullets. A garden tiller wonderful until you run out of gas or oil or it breaks and you don't have the part. Best to be proficient in as many so called primitive skills as you can stuff into the brain and put effectively into practice. Seen more than a few *Survivalist* so proud of their preps and AR but can't set a simple trail snare or fish without a rod and reel and hooks. Stock piled things tend to run out, and the more advanced the tech the more likely it will break or fail due to dependence. The only thing that sidearm is good for without bullets is a new life as a marginal hammer.
  16. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    I think you may have misunderstood what I had said....The British defenders didn't need to pick up assegais and clubs to defend themselves....they had rifles with bayonets when it came to hand to hand, combat. It would make no sense to discard a weapon that they were familiar with and trained to use in hand to hand combat; and pick up unfamiliar weapons that they had no training in the effective use of.

    When it came down to hand to hand combat, at 11-12:1 odds against...the end for the British was a foregone conclusion at Isandlwana. The odds were also strongly against the British at Rorke's Drift, but the defenders had the benefit of field defences, and the ability to concentrate the available firepower against an enemy attacking on a narrow front when the final fallback position was being defended. The steadily accumulating corpses in front of the defender's mealy bag walls, helped slow down the momentum of the attacker's assaults, making it easier for the defenders to mow the Zulus down in the killing zone with the firepower that they were still able to present. Even so, the defenders ammunition reserves were critically low the following morning.

    I was not then, nor am offended now by what you had written....I think that there was some kind of misunderstanding. It's all good as far as I'm concerned :)

    You are right about the problems of fouling with the Martini Henry single shot rifles and their black powder paper cartridges. The initial rate of fire would have dropped significantly as the rifles became fouled and refused to extract fired cartridges.

    As to primitive vs isn't an either, or proposition....both have their place in the prepper's bag of survival tools, and each have their relative advantages and disadvantages, depending upon the circumstances one finds oneself in. The best approach is to have, and to be able to competently able to use, as wide a variety of modern and primitive weapons as one can.
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  17. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    By reason of good reasoning, I have to accept the fact that I could come home, and it had burned to the ground, every thing lost.
    To put things into perspective Ive got more junk that probably 10 of you all. I'm not rich , its simply an accumulation.
    There are things we like and enjoy the use of like our computers and guns and ever thing else.
    Take all that away, and most of us will still end up on our feet because we are durable .
    But some will depend on government and insurance and abundance of other services and benevolent ministries, to merely survive.
    Having grown up with antiques, and for the most part raised my family using a lot of antiques , my kids walk through an antique store and go, These aren't antiques ,we still use this stuff.
    Both my kids are creative and had earned to to the best they can with the materials at hand.
    Though it's important to know the box, it's is equally important to be able to think out side the box. boiling water in a paper bag over an open flame can work, if you have to.
    So far as weapons go ,training with various weapons is critical because though the correct weapon may not be available,, knowing what can be improvised, can turn the tables in your favor.
    How many have used a rock as a hammer or of course a stick to baton a blade through other wood? you use materials at hand.
    Ideal conditions we cary appropriate tools for the tasks at hand.
    A maul or axe certainly works better than batoning a knife through a wood biscuit.
    A little heavy to carry for camping on foot thought.
    So you improvise with wood wedges and boulders to get the job done.
    Primitive ways have their place and by all means have practice, but I'm wearing out all my modern methods first, when push comes to shove and time and elements are not only side.
    But if it's not an event under pressure, that's when it's important to use the more primitive methods.
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  18. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    One of the big things for me is something that you just brought up several times. My AO has NO NATURAL ROCKS. There is no improvise with a boulder, nor any flintknapping freely available. Think about all your improv without rocks being available. Very interesting viewpoint change.
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  19. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    Try flint knapping with discarded glass bottles...although the method used may be primitive, the materials needn't be. ;)
  20. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    Done a little bit of that with a 10 penny nail. Not the hardest thing in the world, but still not an ax...haha.
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